Kyiv The port city of Mariupol has been the subject of fierce fighting for months. Most recently, the Ukrainian defenders holed up in a steel mill. The facility became a symbol of the resistance in Mariupol.
But now the soldiers are giving up their last bastion, leaving the Russian troops in control of the largely destroyed city. The Ukrainian military announced on Tuesday that they would seek a complete evacuation of the steel mill.
According to Ukraine, more than 250 fighters followed after civilians who had also stayed in the plant had recently been brought to safety. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar emphasized that freeing Azovstal was not possible.
Around 600 fighters are said to have persevered in the steelworks. According to the Ukrainian government, 211 have now been taken to the town of Olenivka, in the pro-Russian separatist-controlled Donetsk region. 53 wounded soldiers were taken to a hospital in the Russian-controlled city of Novoazovsk. A possible exchange of prisoners with Russia is planned for all evacuees.
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“We hope that we can save the lives of our people,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes who are alive.”
Five buses with Ukrainian soldiers arrived in Novoazovsk. A man, whose head was heavily bandaged, was carried out on a stretcher from a bus marked with the “Z” typical of Russian military vehicles. In the bus wounded lay on stretchers in three tiers. The Russian-backed separatists said 256 fighters from the steel mill had “surrendered”. 51 of them were injured.
End of one of the most costly battles of the war so far
The evacuation of the steelworks not only marks the end of one of the most costly battles of the war to date, but also a symbolic loss for Ukraine. Their soldiers have recently gained ground around Kharkiv. But the fighting continued across the board on Tuesday.
More than 260 soldiers evacuated from steel plant in Mariupol
The office of President Zelensky reported continuous shelling of the entire front line around Donetsk, as well as rocket attacks in the Chernihiv region. There were Russian attacks around the capital Kyiv and near Lviv in the west near the Polish border. The Interfax news agency, citing the Moscow Defense Ministry, reported that arms deliveries from the United States and Europe had been hit near Lviv.
According to the authorities, a village in the western Russian province of Kursk on the border with Ukraine has come under Ukrainian fire. Russian border guards returned fire to stop the shelling. Information about combat events often cannot be independently confirmed.
Russia comments on NATO expansion
After initially vague threats from Moscow with a view to expanding the defense alliance to the north, Defense Minister Sergei Lavrov also appeared calm after President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. If Sweden and Finland join NATO, it probably won’t make much of a difference because both countries have long been involved in NATO maneuvers, Lavrov said.
Putin had stated that Russia had no problems with the two Scandinavian countries. But he will react to the expansion of the military infrastructure there.
In the internal NATO struggle for the admission of Sweden and Finland, the focus was once again on Turkey. At the weekend, the NATO country had shown itself open to Finland and Sweden joining, but attached conditions to this. This includes dealing differently with people classified as terrorists.
All NATO members would have to agree to the admission of the two countries, including Turkey. On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his accusations against Sweden and Finland with regard to groups such as the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).
>> Read about this: Why Erdogan has so far rejected Sweden and Finland joining NATO
Selenski calls Scholz
After the conversation with Scholz, Selenski wrote on Twitter that it was also about a possible tightening of sanctions against Russia and the prospect of peace. It was “productive talks”. His country continues to rely on Germany’s help on the way to full EU membership.
This is how the Handelsblatt reports on the Ukraine war:
UNICEF: War in Ukraine exacerbates child malnutrition
According to UNICEF, the war in Ukraine is exacerbating the problem of severe malnutrition among children. “Even before the war in Ukraine, many families were struggling to feed their children due to conflict, climate shock and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director. Now there are additional problems. The Ukraine, which is regarded as Europe’s granary, can export far less grain as a result of the war, among other things.
More: You can follow the latest developments in our news blog