Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine
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Mariupol, a port metropolis on the Sea of Azov, is situated in Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast and has been underneath direct Russian management since Could 2022.
Russian assaults on Mariupol started on February 24, 2022 – the primary day of the invasion. Town was subjected to a few of the conflict’s worst atrocities.
In March, an airstrike ripped by means of a maternity and kids’s hospital within the metropolis. Russian officers claimed the hospital was a justifiable navy goal, primarily based on their unproven assertion that Ukrainian navy targets have been on web site and that every one sufferers and medical employees had left.
However footage circulating on social media confirmed expectant moms being escorted out of a ruined constructing amid charred vehicles and particles.
Among the many injured was a pregnant lady who was photographed being carried out on a stretcher. Neither she nor her child could possibly be saved, a surgeon who handled her later confirmed. The photograph brought on shockwaves world wide.
Additionally in March, Russia bombed a theater the place lots of of individuals had taken shelter in Mariupol. The phrase “kids” was spelled out on two sides of the theater earlier than it was bombed.
Of the 450,000 people who lived within the metropolis earlier than the conflict, a 3rd had already left by mid-April, in keeping with Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko.
A few of those that stayed took refuge within the Azovstal metal vegetation. To Ukrainians, Azovstal turned a potent symbol of resistance, sheltering about 2,600 troopers and civilians whereas the fortress-like facility was pummeled by Russian bombardment for weeks.
To Moscow, the huge web site was a frustration, the final cussed holdout in a metropolis that its forces had in any other case taken management over weeks earlier.
“Block off the commercial web site, in order that not even a fly can escape,” Putin stated, his command broadcast on state-run tv.
Yuriy Ryzhenkov, CEO of Metinvest Holding, which owns the plant, instructed CNN why Putin wished to take Azovstal so badly.
“I don’t suppose it’s the plant that he needs. I feel it’s concerning the symbolism that they wished to beat Mariupol. They by no means anticipated Mariupol to withstand,” Ryzhenkov stated.
Azovstal lastly fell late in Could, after an evacuation operation managed to rescue lots of of Ukrainians from the plant.