Printed on Wed Jul 06 2022 12:45:40 AM

Fall of Ukraine's Port of Mariupol to Russians Appears Imminent

International desk
The fall of the Ukrainian port of Mariupol to Russia appeared imminent Tuesday as Ukraine moved to abandon the city’s sprawling steel plant, and hundreds of Kyiv fighters who had been holed up there turned themselves over to Russian forces in a deal reached by the warring parties.

The capture of Mariupol, a prewar city of 430,000 people along the north coast of the Sea of Azov, would be Moscow’s biggest success in its nearly three-month offensive against Ukraine.

But Russia is struggling to capture more territory in eastern Ukraine and has failed to topple the government of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy or take the capital, Kyiv.

Under constant Russian shelling, which Ukraine estimates has killed 20,000 civilians in Mariupol, much of the city has been reduced to rubble. What’s left of it is situated between the Russian mainland and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014.

More than 260 Ukrainian fighters — some of them seriously wounded and lying on stretchers — left the ruins of the Azovstal steel plant on Monday and turned themselves over to Russian forces. Ukrainian authorities said they were working to remove its remaining soldiers from the steel mill, but it was not clear how many remained.

Russia called the operation a mass surrender. The Ukrainians, in contrast, said its garrison had completed its mission.
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