According to a media report, the Russian Ministry of Defense has reported that the Ukrainian armed forces have been almost completely expelled from Mariupol. A spokesman for the ministry was quoted by the RIA news agency on Saturday as saying that some fighters were still trapped in the Azovstal factory. Accordingly, the Ukrainians are said to have lost more than 4,000 military personnel in the besieged coastal city. The information cannot be independently verified.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has threatened to end talks with Moscow if Russia “knocks out” the last Ukrainian troops in the heavily contested port city of Mariupol. It would be a “dead end” for both sides, because we are not negotiating either about our territories or about our people,” Zelenskyi told the Ukrainska Pravda news website on Saturday.
Catastrophic humanitarian situation
Mariupol has been under siege since the first days after the Russian invasion on February 24th. The city, which once had over 400,000 inhabitants, has now been largely destroyed and the humanitarian situation is catastrophic. Selenskyj recently spoke of “tens of thousands” dead in the siege. On Saturday he again accused Russia of not allowing escape corridors.
Humanitarian Corridors for Mariupol
On Saturday he again accused Russia of not allowing escape corridors. According to the government, nine humanitarian evacuation corridors have been agreed for today. Accordingly, civilians should be able to leave Mariupol in private cars, among other things, said the Vice Prime Minister
Iryna Vereshchuk with. Five corridors are planned in the Luhansk region. According to local authorities, this is under heavy fire.
In the encircled and largely in ruins port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian soldiers held the fort, as did the Ukrainian authorities
informed. Reuters journalists at the scene were treated to a scene of devastation at the strategically important Ilyich steelworks, which Russian troops say they have captured.
Ukrainian troops surrounded
The Defense Ministry in Moscow said in the middle of the week that Russian troops had taken full control of the port of Mariupol. The ministry added that Ukrainian troops were surrounded and “deprived of the opportunity to escape”. On Saturday, the ministry said Ukrainian forces had lost 4,000 men in Mariupol.
The situation is “very difficult,” said Zelenskyj on Saturday. “To be honest, we have no faith in the Mariupol negotiations.”
Mariupol is about 55 kilometers from the Russian border and 85 kilometers from the separatist stronghold of Donetsk. It is the largest city between the Crimean Peninsula annexed by Russia and the pro-Russian separatist areas. With a capture of the port city, Russian troops would establish a land connection between the two areas and cut off Ukraine from the Sea of Azov.