The last marines defending Mariupol “out of ammunition” | Ukraine
The last Ukrainian soldiers defending Mariupol said on Monday they were “short of ammunition” and expected to be killed or taken prisoner very soon by Russian forces surrounding the city.
Writing on Facebook, the 36th Brigade said its 47-day defense of Mariupol was coming to a tragic conclusion. “We were bombed by planes and shot down by artillery and tanks. We did everything possible and impossible. But any resource has the potential to run out,” he said.
Russian troops have been besieging the city on the Sea of Azov since early March. The territory controlled by the Ukrainian forces has gradually been reduced to a few central areas. The surviving marines are now entrenched in the Azovstal Ironworks next to the port.
“The enemy gradually pushed us back. They surrounded us with fire and are now trying to destroy us,” the marines said. The “mountain of wounded” made up nearly half of the brigade, they added, with those “whose limbs are not ripped off” continuing to fight.
Their infantry had all been killed. The “firefights” against the Russians are now carried out by gunners and anti-aircraft gunners, as well as radio operators, drivers and cooks. Even the musicians of the orchestra were fighting, they said.
The latest desperate bulletin came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia had ‘destroyed’ Mariupol. “There are tens of thousands of dead. Despite this, the Russians are not stopping their offensive,” he told the South Korean parliament.
Zelenskiy said it was too early for Ukraine to declare it had won the battle for kyiv, given the scale of the suffering of civilians living in Russian-occupied areas in the capital’s garden suburbs. .
“Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel – if people from these [towns] were wiped out, so have we won this battle? I am not sure. We have resisted and we have not given up what is ours. But if we won, I can’t say,” he told CBS News.
It is unlikely that the exact number of residents killed in Mariupol is known. Its Ukrainian-controlled council said the Russians had collected the bodies of the dead – many of them lying in broken streets – and cremated them in a mobile crematorium.
After failing to capture kyiv, Russia refocused its military efforts on the eastern region of Donbass. When Mariupol falls, the Russian tactical battalions should advance north and attempt to link up with other military columns moving south from the city of Iyzum and the Kharkiv region.
Western officials have said they expect Russia to try to “double or even triple” its forces in Donbass as it moves forces from kyiv and elsewhere in the coming weeks. The first of these forces had begun to redeploy via Belarus, but the whole exercise would take “considerable time” and it was unclear how many units could actually be brought back into action.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said a full-scale attack on the Kremlin was likely. “They have almost completed their preparations. We expect an offensive in the near future,” spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told the Guardian. When asked if the Russians could surround Ukraine’s eastern army, he replied, “We’re not going to let that happen.”
The Ukrainian high command faces an urgent tactical dilemma. Several Russian battalions withdrew late last month from the kyiv region to Belarus. Some are now making the long journey via Belgorod on the Russian side of the border, to redeploy in southeastern Ukraine.
Other units remained in place. If kyiv moves the bulk of its forces to Donetsk and Luhansk territories, it would expose the capital to a second surprise Russian attack from Belarus.
In their message, the Mariupol marines also say they feel “written off” by their commander-in-chief. They say repeated promises to lift the crushing Russian blockade of the city, or to evacuate some of their wounded by helicopter, have come to nothing. “There were chances. Due to nonsense, they were not implemented,” the brigade wrote.
Like the trapped civilian population of Mariupol, the soldiers live in hellish conditions. “For more than a month, we fought without replenishing our ammunition, without food, without water,” the marines said, adding that they were forced to drink water from puddles.
The message ends: “It is death for some of us, and captivity for others. Don’t speak badly of the Marines. Because we are FAITHFUL FOREVER!
Russia claimed to have targeted Ukrainian air defense systems in overnight airstrikes that completely destroyed the airport in the eastern city of Dnipro. Another attack injured five people in the town of Zvonetsky, according to Ukrainian officials.
Rescuers were also combing through infrastructure in Zvonetsky that was attacked on Monday. Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said casualty figures would be released later.
Reznichenko said earlier that the Dnipro attack injured one person, while rockets ignited a fire that was eventually extinguished. A missile also hit a building in the Pavlohrad district, he added.
Separately, the head of the Dnipro regional council, Mykola Lukashuk, said five staff members of the state emergency service were injured in the strike at the airport.
Russia said it targeted an S-300 air defense missile system flown to Ukraine from Slovenia last week, a claim Slovenia denies. kyiv has repeatedly pleaded with its Western allies for long-range air defense systems to help it fight off the Russian invasion.
Dnipro, an industrial city of 1 million people, has become a vital landing point for far eastern Ukrainians who have been told to evacuate in the face of both Russian advances on the ground and the intensification of air strikes and artillery attacks.
It seems unlikely that Moscow will stop its invasion of Ukraine anytime soon. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said negotiation talks with Ukraine would continue, but stressed in an interview with Itar-Tass that there would be no pause in hostilities until until a final agreement is concluded and signed.