Mariupol steelworks: ‘Block it so a fly can’t pass,’ Putin orders

Ns News Online Desk:Ns News Online Desk: Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his troops to seal off Ukrainian defenders inside the besieged port city of Mariupol. Mr.  Putin told forces to abandon plans to storm the sprawling Azovstal steel works there, where Ukraine is still resisting the invaders.

But an official in the controversial Azov battalion said Mr. Putin “has just admitted their possible defeat”.

“They’re not able to occupy the Azovstal,” Maksym Zhorin told the BBC.

The Azovstal Iron and Steel Works – a massive, four sq-mile (10 sq km) plant in the south-east of the city – has become the last center of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol. Civilians as well as fighters are inside the plant.

Taking the port city is a key war aim for President Putin. It would give his forces a land bridge to Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, which Russia occupied in 2014.At a televised meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Thursday, Mr Putin officially cancelled plans to assault the works and ordered instead that the area be sealed off.

“Block off this industrial area so that a fly cannot not pass through,” he said.

“There is no need to climb into these catacombs and crawl underground through these industrial facilities,” he said, while praising Mr  Shoigu for the successful operation to “liberate Mariupol” from Ukraine.

It comes after weeks of Russian bombardment of the area, and repeated demands for Ukrainian troops within to surrender. It is unclear how easy it would be for Russian forces to wholly seal off the site. It is a maze of tunnels and workshops and provides a natural advantage to defenders.

Yan Gagin, an official with the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, told Russian state news network RIA over the weekend that there is “basically another city” beneath the plant.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button