Ukraine: Russia claims it has captured seaport in Mariupol
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Considered one of the key cities in the Donbas region of southeast Ukraine, the potential fall of Mariupol spells disaster for the country. Should Russian forces go on to capture the entire city, they would gain a significant strategic advantage and reinforce a southern land corridor with Russia.
Sky News host Mark Austin said: “Russia is claiming it has captured the seaport in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
“Earlier, the city’s mayor denied that it had surrendered to Russian forces but said the situation there was critical.
“Russia says more than a thousand Ukrainian marines surrendered in the city, a claim denied by Ukraine.
“Russian state television says these images show Ukrainian soldiers surrendering and Sky News has located the video to Mariupol.”
Ukrainian marines have been holed up in the Azovstal industrial district, where they have maintained control of the city.
If Russia’s claims that these marines have surrendered are confirmed, it means the Russian military will have gained full control of Ukraine’s main Sea of Azov port.
Having been the focus of some of the fiercest fighting of the war, the fall of Mariupol would make it the first major city to fall to Russia since the beginning of the conflict.
The city is viewed as a key strategic stronghold from which Russia can launch further offensives in the eastern regions of Ukraine.
Russia’s defence ministry said today that 1,026 soldiers of the 36th Marine Brigade had surrendered.
Of those troops, they claimed that 162 were Ukrainian officers.
They said Ukrainian forces surrendered to Russian and pro-Russian separatist forces near the Illich Iron and Steel Works in the seaport.
But Ukraine’s general staff said they had received no information about any surrender, though they were aware of concentrated attacks on the port.
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On Monday, the 36th Marine Brigade said its troops had run out of ammunition and that it was preparing for its last battle.
They said the final stand would end in death or capture.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a close supporter of Putin, called on remaining Ukrainians in the seaport to surrender
He said via a post on Telegram: “Within Azovstal at the moment there are about 200 wounded who cannot receive any medical assistance.
“For them and all the rest it would be better to end this pointless resistance and go home to their families.”
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