The last 2,000 Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol, along with around 1,000 civilians, reside in the tunnels under the factory complex.
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the site of the plant heavily bombed† In addition, Russian troops reportedly blocked exits from the site. Soldiers and civilians are in critical condition in the tunnel system under the factory. They have not been able to get medicine or food for weeks.
Attempts to evacuate Ukrainian civilians and military personnel from the site have so far failed. On Monday, Russia announced it would open a humanitarian corridor for civilians, but Ukraine said there was no agreement. Evacuation would not be possible while Russia was under fire from the steelworks. Ukraine say that Russia is deliberately bombing these humanitarian corridors.
Putin refused yesterday during a conversation with Turkish President Erdogan that fighting continues in Mariupol. According to him, it is the fault of the Ukrainian government that civilians still live in the steel plant and that they could leave the site safely.
Ukraine yesterday asked for help from the United Nations and the Red Cross for the evacuations. After UN chief António Guterres met with Vladimir Putin, the United Nations announced that Putin was here ‘In principle’ agree with. It remains unclear when this joint evacuation should take place or where the civilians would be taken.
Many Ukrainian citizens were evacuated to Russia and not to safer areas in Ukraine itself. the UN reports that there are now more than 600,000 Ukrainian refugees in Russia, while Ukraine claims that many of these people were forcibly brought to Russia.
Mariupol is complete since March 17 surrounded† Only the Azovstal steel plant is still in Ukrainian hands. If the city falls completely into Russian hands, it will be an important victory for Russia. In this case, he controls the entire southeast coast of Ukraine.
In addition, the port of Mariupol is an important strategic object that can be used to supply Russian troops. The troops still active in Mariupol would then again be deployable on other front lines.
You can see why Mariupol is so important to Russians in this video:
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