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Russia has taken control of Mariupol and Putin has said “not a fly pass.”

Russia has taken control of Mariupol and Putin has said “not a fly pass.”

The only thing that comes under Ukrainian rule is the Azovstal metal plant.

Courtesy | The city has been one of the most attacked since the beginning of the invasion

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered his forces not to attack the besieged city of Mariupol’s last grip on Ukraine, but to blockade it “so that not even a fly can fly”.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin on Thursday that other parts of the city had been “liberated” beyond the huge Azovstal metal plant where Q’s last forces were rooted, which had been used by Russian authorities for parts of Ukraine. Have taken.

The president hailed the move as a “success”.

Leaving the plant in Ukrainian hands deprives the Russians of the opportunity to declare total victory in Mariupol. Capturing the city is of strategic and symbolic importance.

The extent of the suffering in the city has become a center of global interest. Moreover, its fall would cause Ukraine to lose a major port, complete a land connection between Russia and the Crimean peninsula, and release troops to mobilize elsewhere in the Donbass.

Shoiku said the steel plant was “securely locked”.

Putin’s and Shoiku’s statements seemed to reflect a change in the Mariupol strategy, where so far the Russians have been determined to capture every inch of the city. But in practice it is not clear what that means.

Ukrainian officials did not comment on the news from Moscow, although it was previously reported that four buses with civilians were able to escape from the city after several failed attempts.

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Thousands of people remained in the city, mostly reduced to rubble after nearly two months of siege. It is feared that about 20,000 people may have died during that period.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vareshchuk said on Thursday that another attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol would be made, although it was unclear how Russian officials’ statements would affect those plans.

Russian demands

Meanwhile, the Kremlin said it had developed its demands for an end to the war and that the West was rushing to provide Ukraine with more powerful weapons to counter Russia’s new offensive to seize the country’s industrial east.

In a statement on Thursday, the British Defense Ministry said that Russia wanted to show significant success ahead of its Victory Day celebrations on May 9. “It could affect how quickly and forcefully they want to act until that date.”

Police in the Kyiv region said on Thursday that two mass graves containing nine bodies had been found in the city of Borodianka, northwest of the Ukrainian capital.

According to the head of the regional police Andriy Nebytov, among the “civilians killed by the Russian occupiers” were two women and a young man. The pits were discovered on Wednesday.

“I want to emphasize that these people are civilians. The Russian military deliberately shot dead civilians who did not show any resistance and did not pose any threat,” Nepidov said, adding that some of the victims appeared to have been tortured.

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