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Hot: Russia completely controls Mariupol, blockading Ukraine’s last fortress Azovstal not to let “no fly through”

Hot: Russia takes full control of Mariupol, blockading Ukraine's last fortress Azovstal not to let

Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol. Photo RT

Russia’s RT news agency reported on April 21 that Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin that Russian forces had completely controlled the city of Mariupol – an important seaport city of Donbass. However, more than 2,000 fighters, loyal to Kiev, remained entrenched at the Azovstal steel plant, he added.

President Vladimir Putin hailed the liberation of Mariupol by Russian military forces as a victory. “The situation in the city was calm, allowing us to begin to restore order, bring people home, and establish a peaceful life. As for those who are hiding at the Azovstal factory and are completely blocked off there and around the entire perimeter, we need about three to four days to complete this work,” General Shoigu said. In response, President Putin ordered the cancellation of the attack on the industrial park, instead ordered a “safety blockade” to “not let a single fly through” the Azovstal factory site and give those inside a chance to surrender. Ukraine’s last supply inside the plant has also been cut off.

“We must think about preserving the lives and health of our soldiers and officers. There is no need to go underground and crawl underground in the territory of this industrial facility. Please blockade the area. this industry so that not even a fly can fly out. Make a proposal once again to all those who have not laid down their weapons. The Russian side will guarantee their lives and treat them kindly, in accordance with the law. in accordance with relevant acts of international law,” Putin said. Putin stressed that all the injured will receive adequate medical care.

The fact that the Azovstal plant is still in Ukraine’s hands prevents Russia from declaring complete victory over Mariupol, which has seen some of the most dramatic skirmishes of the war and whose capture was significant. strategy and icons.

The comments by Putin and Shoigu appear to reflect a change of strategy in Mariupol, where the Russians previously seemed determined to take every last inch of the city. But it’s not clear what it would mean in practical terms.

Ukrainian officials did not comment on the latest comments, but previously said four buses carrying civilians had managed to flee the city after several unsuccessful attempts. Thousands of others remained in the city.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said another attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol would be made on Thursday, April 21 – although it was unclear how the latest comments would affect that.

When Mariupol was besieged in early March, some 8,100 Ukrainian soldiers, foreign mercenaries, and nationalist fighters – including members of the famous Nazi Azov Battalion – remained by the side. in, as estimated by Minister Shoigu.

Shoigu said more than 1,400 fighters had laid down their weapons, adding that more than 142,000 civilians had also been evacuated from the city.

Russia has twice tried to establish humanitarian corridors for people willing to leave the factory in recent days, but both times have failed. The Russian Defense Ministry has called on the remaining Ukrainian forces to lay down their weapons, provide safety guarantees, if they accept the proposal to surrender and cease all hostilities.

Sergey Volina, commander of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade who is hiding at the factory, claimed that “hundreds” of civilians were trapped in the facility. He did not explain why they voluntarily decided to hide here.

“We have about 90 buses and 25 ambulances ready for them,” Shoigu said, adding that cameras have been installed in the area to monitor the situation. “No one has left the Azovstal factory,” he added. The minister said about 100 civilians from other areas seized the opportunity to evacuate.

Russian forces have also freed all hostages held at the port of Mariupol, including the crew, who had been cut off contact by the hostage-takers, Shoigu said.

Ukrainian forces gathered at the plant outlined their own conditions for leaving the plant late on Wednesday. The Ukrainian military says that these people will leave the area with the support of an unidentified “third party” and do not want to lay down their arms and surrender. Mariupol has seen some of the heaviest fighting since Moscow launched the offensive.

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