“Today, the process of unblocking requires a large number of troops, given that the Ukrainian armed forces are located 150-200 kilometers from Mariupol,” Deputy Chief of Staff Oleksiy Hromov said on Wednesday. Since the Russian forces also built powerful defense systems in the meantime, such an operation could lead to many casualties.
Russian forces have besieged the port city in southeastern Ukraine for two months. The remaining fighters, including units of the Azov National Battalion, holed up in the local Azovstal steel mill. They ask Kyiv and the international community to commit themselves to their rescue, whether through diplomatic or military channels.
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In recent weeks, about 500 civilians who were in the steel mill have been rescued through humanitarian corridors. Russia rejects the free withdrawal of fighters. They should lay down their weapons and allow themselves to be caught.
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk said there were still about 1,000 cannons at the steel plant, half of whom were injured. Russia says 2,500 Ukrainian fighters and foreign soldiers are hiding in the compound.