The Russian troops closed Mariupol, a city in the southern part of Ukraine, issuing movement passes to control the traffic of citizens in and out the city. The latest move by the Russian military is aimed at bringing Ukraine down to its knees by taking hostage of the entire city, a strategic hub in the region. Despite Russia’s ultimatum, some 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers are holding out, poised to fight it through.
According to CNN, Petro Andriushchenko, the advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, said on Telegram that it was impossible to travel in the city or go outside without the pass from the Russian troops, adding that the remaining men in the city will be censored before being deployed to other places, and that the entry into Mariupol will be suspended starting Monday. The city council also said on Monday that the Russians are forcibly censoring people’s cellphones, and sending them to Russia against their will, labeling it as “an attempt to conceal war crimes.”
Against this backdrop, the 2,500-strong Ukrainian troops fought the Russian intruders at Azovstal and Illich steel plants in the city of Mariupol. The main resistance of Azovstal Regiment is a militia group put together in 2014 to fight the pro-Russian rebels in the eastern region of Donbas. The regiment was incorporated into the regular army in June thanks to the contributions it made to recovering Mariupol that year. Back then, the volunteer unit smacked of an ultra-right-wing group, allowing Putin to justify his labeling the invasion as “anti-Nazi” fight. The Times said the group’s far-rightist streak has been somewhat diluted now.
The Russian troops had given an ultimatum to the Ukrainian resistance to surrender by 1 p.m. on Sunday, and now that it is past the deadline, any indiscriminate attack may occur. The Russians are stepping up their attacks after their warship Moskva sank in the Black Sea to restore their pride. Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, said the Moskva had been sunk by three Ukrainian missiles, leaving around 40 people dead and many more missing.
“It seems from the way the Russian army behaves in Mariupol, they decided to raze the city to the ground at any cost,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ni an interview with CBS, adding that it would be difficult to continue talking with the Russians, and that “Mariupol may be a red line”. In an interview with CNN, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine is not willing to give up territory and the Donbas region, vowing to fight it through, asking President Biden to visit Ukraine.
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