Printed on Sun Aug 07 2022 6:48:31 PM

'Russia is approaching to capture Mariupol'

International desk
A top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russian forces will occupy the last stronghold of the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukraine on Thursday, April 21st. The warning came from Moscow after Ukraine offered to withdraw its troops and civilians.

Eight weeks after the start of the invasion of Ukraine, Mariupol will be the largest city occupied by Russia. According to many military analysts, the aggression has lasted longer than expected. More than 5 million people have fled the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The head of the Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has said that "before or after lunch, Azovstal will be under the full control of the Russian Federation." Kadyrov's forces are fighting for Russia in Ukraine. And the Azovstal steel plant is still under the control of Ukrainian forces.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Eyewitnesses said a convoy of several civilian small buses was able to leave the strategically important port city of Mariupol on Wednesday. Ukraine's Marine Commander Serhai Volina said on Wednesday, April 21st, that fighters stationed at the steel plant may not be able to survive very long. President Volodymyr Zelensky said about 1,000 civilians had taken refuge in the factory.

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Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian negotiator, said in a tweet that Kyiv was "ready for special talks" without any preconditions to protect Mariupol's army and civilians.

Ukraine has offered to release Russian prisoners in exchange for the release of stranded soldiers and civilians. It was not immediately clear if Russia responded to the offer.

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