Lhe situation in the strategic port of Mariupol is “inhuman”, declared Saturday April 16 the Ukrainian president, calling on Westerners to provide “immediately” the heavy weapons which he has been demanding for several weeks. The Prime Minister, for his part, states Russia’s assertion that it controls almost the entire city. According to him, in an interview broadcast on Sunday by the American channel ABC, the last Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol still hold sectors of the city and “will fight until the end”. Ukrainian soldiers besieged in Mariupol on Sunday appeared to have ignored Russia’s ultimatum to lay down their arms and evacuate this strategic port in southeastern Ukraine, whose capture would be a major victory for Moscow .
In an interview broadcast on Sunday by another American television channel, CNN, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky brushed aside the possibility of letting Moscow take over the Donbass region and part of eastern Ukraine, to stop the bloodbath.
Russian airstrikes on Mariupol
In the early morning of Sunday, the Ukrainian general staff indicated that airstrikes had been carried out on the city by the Russians from the regions of Donetsk and Tavriya. “They also carried out assault operations near the port,” he said in a statement, without however mentioning the call to lay down their arms or the Russian claim to take most of the city.
The capture of this city would be an important victory for the Russians, as it would allow them to consolidate their coastal territorial gains along the Sea of Azov by linking the Donbass region, partly controlled by their supporters, to the Crimea that Moscow annexed in 2014.
The suspension of humanitarian corridors in the East
In the absence of an agreement with the Russian army on a cessation of firing, the Ukrainian authorities announced on Sunday the suspension of the humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from eastern Ukraine. “This morning we failed to negotiate a ceasefire on evacuation routes with the occupiers,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram.
Ukraine has demanded the opening of an evacuation route for wounded soldiers from the town of Mariupol, devastated by the fighting. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that the “elimination” of the last Ukrainian soldiers present in Mariupol “would put an end to all peace negotiations” with Moscow. For its part, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Sunday that it had bombed a military factory on the outskirts of kyiv, as Moscow intensifies its attacks against the Ukrainian capital.
Consult our file: War in Ukraine