President Vladimir Putin ordered the remaining fighters to be besieged rather than attack the site.
The planned assault on the industrial zone is not necessaryVladimir Putin told his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.I order you to cancel it.“,”text”:”I order you to cancel it.”}}”>I order you to cancel it.
The head of the Kremlin justified this decision by his concern to preserve the lives of Russian soldiers.
There is no need to descend into these catacombs and crawl underground through these industrial buildings, he continued. Seal off this industrial site so that not even a fly can pass.
In a statement to Interfax and reported by Reuters, Foreign Minister Sergei Shoigu says Russia has evacuated more than 142,000 civilians from Mariupol and that 1,478 Ukrainian fighters have already surrendered, but 2,000 of them are still entrenched in the industrial complex of Azovstal.
These claims could not be independently verified. The Ukrainian authorities have not yet said anything about the Russian statements.
This is not the first time that Russia has made such an announcement. Last week, Moscow announced that 1,026 Ukrainian soldiers from the 36th Marine Brigade had gone to Mariupol. They were, however, in the area of the Ilyich metallurgical plant, located north of the Azovstal complex.
President Vladimir Putin reiterated that Russia guarantees the lives of fighters at the Azovstal plant will surrender. Until now, the Ukrainian forces have refused to leave this complex.
Mariupol, a port city in southeastern Ukraine, is the scene of one of the main battles in the war sparked by the Russian invasion on February 24. It has been bombarded and besieged since the early days of what Russia describes asspecial military operation“,”text”:”special military operation”}}’>special military operation in Ukraine.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk calls on Russia to urgently establish a humanitarian corridor to get civilians and wounded soldiers out of the Azovstal industrial complex.civilians and 500wounded soldiers. They must leave Azovstal today”,”text”:”There are about 1000 civilians and 500 wounded soldiers. They have to leave Azovstal today”}}’>There are approximately 1,000 civilians and 500 wounded soldiers. They have to leave Azovstal todayshe said on the social network Telegram.
It calls on leaders and the international community to concentrate their efforts on this site.
This is a key moment in the humanitarian effortadded the Deputy Prime Minister.
Earlier Thursday, she said only four buses were able to leave Mariupol on Wednesday. Efforts to evacuate civilians will continue on Thursday, she said, warning that the security situation remained difficult.