Blow for Putin as Ukraine liberates major city Irpin from Russian soldiers

Ukrainian forces have reportedly liberated the besieged city of Irpin which has been decimated by Vladimir Putin’s airstrikes.

Irpin’s mayor, Oleksandr Markushyn announced the news on his Twitter account and promised that any Russian attempts to retake the strategically important city would be repelled.

He said: “We have good news today, Irpin has been liberated. We understand that there will be more attacks on our city and we will defend it courageously.”

Located just 12 miles from Kyiv where President Zelenskyy continues to direct Ukraine’s resistance, keeping hold of the city was of paramount importance to the defenders.

It is also perilously close to Hostomel airfield, which has been one of the conflict’s key battlegrounds.

The liberation comes as the neighbouring city of Mauripol declared that 5,000 citizens had been killed during Russian assaults.

The claims were made by mayor Vadym Boichenko as the Ukrainian forces maintain their grip on parts of the country reports the Mirror.

But the leader did not say how the 5,000 death toll was calculated.

He quoted data from the mayor's office that said about 90% of buildings in Mariupol had been damaged.

Boichenko had earlier called for the complete evacuation of the city.

He said on Monday all civilians must be evacuated to escape a humanitarian catastrophe.

Mayor Boichenko said 160,000 civilians were still trapped in the southern port city on the Sea of Azov, without heat and power after weeks of Russian bombardment.

But said Russian forces had not agreed to give them safe passage.

He did not say where these people were waiting.

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"The situation in the city remains difficult. People are beyond the line of humanitarian catastrophe," Boichenko said on national television.

"We need to completely evacuate Mariupol."

He added: "The Russian Federation is playing with us. We are in the hands of the invaders."

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