At five o’clock yesterday evening, a column of white smoke rose from the steel mill in Mariupol. there Russia Days ago he was declaring the final battle against those few resisting men holed up in dugouts. Izvostal. The Tsar’s forces gave a new ultimatum, but their real goal was to demolish the stronghold preventing the eventual capture of the City of Martyrs. This was also reported by the Ukrainian Security Service, which published the interception of a phone call in which a Russian soldier spoke of an order from the leadership to demolish steel plants. Despite the larger number, the Russian occupiers could not control the Ukrainian Mariupol. So – write 007 Kyiv On Telegram – they want to demolish the steel plant, where our fighters defend. The occupants overlook the fact that civilians are also hiding in the factory. The Russians are preparing three tons of “surprises” from the sky.
And the homeland, according to the captain of the ship Azov regiment, Denys Prokopenko, are the anti-fortification grenades that Moscow soldiers have already thrown at the Azovstal steel plant, where there are hundreds of civilians as well as members of the national battalion. Prokopenko explains in a video message that the Russians used these bombs even though they knew that civilians, especially women with young children and the elderly, were still in the tunnels of the big factory. And last week, the advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, Petro Andryushenko, spoke about high-explosive bombs, such as the FAB-3000, which Russian soldiers will be ready to use.
The city was now a ghost, destruction all around, but until the last Ukrainian army had abandoned the garrison, Russia could not claim to have occupied it. Local authorities talk about 40,000 people deported to Russia or to Russian-controlled Ukrainian regions. Since February, nearly 880,000 people – including 164,000 children – have arrived in the Russian lands and self-proclaimed republics. Moscow does not know how much soldiers and special forces are hiding inside the steel plant. Indeed, he is afraid of the sudden entry, because it is likely that every access road will be mined. “Taking into account the catastrophic situation at the Azovstal Metallurgical Plant,” is the announcement of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation issued yesterday morning, our armed forces “guided by purely humanitarian principles” renew the order “for nationalist fighters, battalions and foreign mercenaries” to lay down their arms and ammunition, and declare a ceasefire From 12.00 (Moscow time) on April 19. All those who laid down their arms were guaranteed the preservation of life. In short, Moscow was prepared to create some kind of humanitarian corridor to allow a safe exit. In the evening, it was announced that 120 civilians hiding in the factory had left after the warning.
The Mariupol steel plant, Azovstal, was practically destroyed – the deputy commander of the Azov battalion, Svyatoslav Palamar – admits. Heavy bombs are dropped on steel plants and under the rubble there are many people,” he tells Svoboda Radio. While Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says on Telegram, “Ukrainian forces will be completely evacuated from the factory soon. We will take full control of Azovstal, at the latest tomorrow (today, editor) ».
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin’s army is attacking along a 480-kilometer front in eastern Ukraine – from Kharkiv to Kherson and Mykolaiv through Lugansk and Donetsk – as part of a major offensive in the so-called “new phase of the war”. The Kyiv General Staff says Russian forces are concentrating their efforts to take full control of the Donbass region in the east of the country. The Moscow army tried to break through the defenses of Ukraine along almost the entire front line, they said. But so far – the Lugansk regional military official Sergei Gaidai explained – they only managed to pass through two regions: the eastern city of Kremena they captured, and another small town. The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that the Russians had begun to intensify their offensive on a large scale, with troops trying to advance into several areas, including the neighboring Kharkiv region. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that the “second phase of the special operation” had begun. He adds: “We are not looking for regime change in Ukraine – we have said this many times. We want Ukrainians to be free to decide how to live. In any case, you will not use nuclear weapons.”
It must be said, then, that the new assault on the country appears to have been thought differently. Russian forces show that they learned from their mistakes in the initial phase of the invasion. Even if – Pentagon sources cited by the Washington Post – problems persist in the chain of command and in the supply of spare parts. According to analyst Mick Ryan, a retired Australian general, the next 48 hours will help to understand: if Moscow’s forces achieve a significant breakthrough, it will be a sign of greater efficiency. If not, it means that they have not learned from their mistakes and “Ukrainians are as good as we think.” In preparation for the offensive just beginning, the Russians mustered forces and supplies for weeks. “They deploy heavy artillery, commanders and observers, aviation, and especially helicopter support,” a senior Pentagon official notes. Currently, he notes, the fiercest fighting is taking place around Bubasna, a city that was under Ukrainian control before the invasion, located between the self-proclaimed breakaway republics of Lugansk and Donetsk. Apparently, the Russian soldiers intend to move from the city of Izyum, with the aim of expelling Ukrainian soldiers from the population centers of Popasna and Slovyansk, two regions 200 kilometers north of Mariupol that already saw heavy fighting in 2014.
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