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Russia changed tactics in Mariupol?

This order was given after President Vladimir Putin heard Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported on April 21, according to RT radio. At that time, Minister Shoigu emphasized the force Russia controlled all of Mariupol, excluding Azovstal, and forecast it would take 3-4 days to take over this steel plant.

President Vladimir Putin called it a “success”. However, according to observers, the “missing” of Azovstal shows that this is not a complete victory for Russia, and reflects a seemingly changed strategy in Mariupol. Once in control of this place, Russia will connect the land corridor with the Crimean peninsula, from there freely moving troops throughout the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine. Mariupol has been under heavy fighting for nearly two months now and Russia has a tendency to control the entire city. Retired US lieutenant colonel Daniel L. Davis told CNN: “Just isolating (Azovstal) is enough… When the Ukrainian soldiers inside are not supplied, they will have to negotiate.”

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on April 21 that efforts were still being made to evacuate people from Mariupol. The AP quoted Ukrainian officials as estimating there are still thousands of people trapped in this city. In a video speech on the night of April 20 (local time), Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky said his forces lacked “heavy” weapons to protect Mariupol. He also called on countries to continue sanctioning Russia, with upcoming targets including energy, banking, import and export activities and transportation.

Fighting continues across eastern Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry claims to have launched hundreds of missiles and hit Ukrainian military targets, including troop concentration points and motor vehicles, according to Russian media.

Serhiy Haidai, governor of Luhansk – Ukraine, announced on Telegram on the evening of April 20 that 80% of Luhansk was controlled by Russia. Before Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, the Ukrainian government controlled 60% of the Luhansk region.

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