Ukrainian militants: Russian troops storm the Mariupol plant

Zaporozhye, Ukraine – On Tuesday, Russian troops stormed a metallurgical plant that was the last hotbed of resistance in Mariupol, Ukrainian defenders said, just as a convoy of dozens of civilians evacuated from the plant last weekend reached relative security. city.

Asnat Lubrani, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine, said that thanks to the evacuation, “101 women, men, children and the elderly were finally able to leave the bunkers under the Azovstal metallurgical plants and see the world in two months.”

The news for those left behind was more bleak. Ukrainian militants say Russian forces have begun storming an extensive plant that includes a maze of tunnels and bunkers.

Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov Ukrainian Regiment, said the Russians were conducting a heavy assault “with the support of armored vehicles and tanks, with attempts to disembark troops from boats and large numbers of infantry.”

The number of Ukrainian fighters hiding inside was unclear, but the Russians estimated it 2,000 weeks ago, and there were reports that 500 were wounded. There are also several hundred civilians left, said Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Verashchuk.

“We will do our best to repel the assault, but we call for immediate measures to evacuate the civilians who remain at the plant and deliver them safely,” Palamar told Telegram.

He added that naval artillery and air strikes were fired at the plant throughout the night. He said two civilian women were killed and 10 civilians were injured.

The assault began almost two weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military not to storm the plant to finish off defenders, but to close it.

This happened at a time when the first column of evacuees from the plant arrived in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporozhye, about 140 miles northwest of Mariupol. They were allowed to leave the metallurgical plant during a brief ceasefire over the weekend as part of an operation controlled by the UN and the Red Cross.

Stretchers and wheelchairs lined up at the reception center in Zaporizhia, tiny children’s shoes dangled from the stroller, and a bunch of toys were waiting for the column. Medical and psychological teams were on standby.

The arrival of buses and ambulances was a rare glimpse of good news in a nearly 10-week conflict that killed thousands, forced millions to flee the country, devastated cities and towns, and changed the balance of power after the Cold War in Eastern Europe.

“In recent days, traveling with evacuees, I have heard mothers, children and weak grandparents talk about the trauma of day-to-day life under incessant heavy shelling and fear of death, as well as extreme shortages of water, food and sanitation,” said Lubrani of the United Nations.

In addition to 101 people evacuated from the metallurgical plant, 58 joined a column in a town on the outskirts of Mariupol, Lubrani said. Some decided not to go all the way to Zaporozhye, where 127 people arrived on Tuesday, he said.

Earlier, the Russian military said some evacuees had decided to stay in the separatist areas. In the past, Ukraine has accused Moscow of taking civilians against their will to Russia or Russian-controlled territories, which the Kremlin has denied.

Mariupol became a symbol of human suffering caused by the war. The two-month siege of the strategic southern port by the Russians trapped civilians who did not need food, water, medicine or heat when Moscow forces smashed the city into ruins. The plant particularly impressed the outside world.

The beating of the metallurgical plant resumed after the evacuation over the weekend. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Vadim Astafyev said that Ukrainian fighters used the ceasefire to get out of the ground and take up new firing positions at the plant.

Russian troops, along with Moscow-backed separatist forces, used artillery and aircraft “to destroy these firing positions,” he said.

After Russia failed to take Kyiv in the first weeks of the war, Russia withdrew some of its forces and said its main goal was to seize Ukraine’s eastern industrial center, known as the Donbass.

Mariupol is in the region, and its fall will deprive Ukraine of a vital port, allow Russia to build a land corridor to the Crimean peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014, and release troops for hostilities elsewhere in the Donbas.

Michael Carpenter, the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said Monday that the United States believes the Kremlin plans to annex most of eastern Ukraine and recognize the southern city of Kherson as an independent republic. None of these steps will be recognized by either the U.S. or its allies, he said.

Russia plans to hold fictitious referendums in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the Donbas, which will “try to add a decorum of democratic or electoral legitimacy” and join these entities to Russia, Carpenter said. He also said that there were signs that Russia would organize a vote on independence in Kherson.

Getting a complete picture of the deployment of the battle in the east was difficult because air strikes and artillery shelling made the movement of journalists extremely dangerous. Both Ukraine and Moscow-backed rebels fighting in the east have imposed tough restrictions on the report.

But so far Russian troops and their allied separatist forces seem to have made only minor strides by taking a few small towns in an attempt to advance relatively small groups against Ukraine’s persistent resistance.

In a daily statement on Twitter about the war, the British military said it believed the Russian military was now “much weaker” after suffering losses in the war with Ukraine.

“The way out of this will be exacerbated by sanctions,” the ministry said. “Failures in both strategic planning and operational performance have not allowed to translate quantitative force into a decisive advantage.”

Resistance to Ukraine is greatly strengthened by Western weapons, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced new military aid of 300 million pounds ($ 375 million), including radar, drones and armored vehicles.

In a speech delivered remotely in the Ukrainian parliament, he declared Ukraine’s battle to keep the Russians “the best hour” for the country, echoing Winston Churchill’s words during World War II.

“Your children and grandchildren will say that the Ukrainians have taught the world that the brute force of the aggressor has nothing against the moral strength of the people who have decided to be free,” he said.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has stated that at least 220 Ukrainian children have died since the beginning of the war by Russian forces.

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Ukrainian militants: Russian troops storm the Mariupol plant

Source link Ukrainian militants: Russian troops storm the Mariupol plant