War in Ukraine, day 74 | ‘Surrender is not an option’ for Azovstal defenders

(Kiev) Ukrainian soldiers holed up for weeks in the underground galleries of the immense Azovstal steel plant, the last bastion of resistance against the Russian army in the ruined port of Mariupol (southeast), announced on Sunday that they were barred from going.

Posted at 7:32
Updated at 9.32am

“Surrender is not an option, because Russia is not interested in our lives. Leaving us alive is not important to them,” Ilya Samoilenko, a Ukrainian intelligence officer, said at a news conference that was broadcast via video.

“All our stocks are limited. We’ve got water left. We have ammunition left. We will have our weapons with us. We will fight for the best result of this situation,” he added from the basements of the industrial estate.

“We have about 200 injured here. We have many wounded, people we cannot leave here. We cannot abandon our wounded, our dead, these people deserve appropriate treatment, they deserve a decent burial. We’re not leaving anyone behind,” he continued.

“We, the soldiers of the Mariupol garrison, witnessed the war crimes committed by Russia, by the Russian army. We are witnessing it,” added Mr. Samoilenko, who spoke sometimes Ukrainian and sometimes English during the conference.

At the end of the press conference, Kateryna Prokopenko, wife of one of the heads of the Azov division, Denis Prokopenko, took part in the discussion via videoconference. “We demand resolute action from the government, we want them all to survive to tell their story to their children and grandchildren. […] We must not stand there crying, we must do everything we can to save them,” she said.

Mariupol has been almost completely under Russian control for several weeks now. Only the immense Azovstal steel factory escaped him, which the Russian army mercilessly pounded, in addition to large attacks on the ground that started violent fighting.

According to Kiev, many civilians were among the Ukrainian fighters in extreme conditions until the evacuation of the last women, the last children and the elderly on Saturday.

The capture of Azovstal would allow Moscow to claim complete control of Mariupol, a strategic port at the southern tip of the Donbass that had a population of nearly half a million before the war, but was almost completely destroyed by two months of siege and Russian attacks. bombing.

60 missing in school strike

As Russian attacks on eastern Ukraine mount, 60 people are missing in a school bombing.


PHOTOGRAPH OF UKRAINE MINISTRY OF EMERGENCY SITUATIONS VIA REUTERS

A school in the village of Bilogorivka was the target of a Russian strike on Saturday.

These people sought refuge in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, regional governor Sergei Gaidai said on Sunday. The village of Bilogorivka was hit by an air raid. The bombs hit the school and unfortunately it was completely destroyed,” the governor said on his Telegram account.

“In total there were 90 people. Twenty-seven were rescued […] Sixty people who were in the school are most likely dead,” he said.

“The enemy has not ceased offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone since 2014 in order to gain full control over the territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson regions and to maintain the land corridor between these areas and the occupied Crimea,” said the Ukrainian. . general staff on Sunday mornings.

He said Russian forces in the Donetsk region are continuing their offensive operations around Lyman, Popasnyansky, Severodonetsk and Avdiivka. And that the situation was “tense” on the part of Moldova.

Zelensky on the G7

On the Russian side, in its briefing on Sunday, the defense ministry claims the destruction of the “command post of a mechanized brigade”, in the Kharkiv region (east), as well as “the communication center of the military airfield of Chervonoglinskoye near the village of Artsyz”.

Separately, air defenses destroyed “two more Ukrainian Su-24 bombers and a Ukrainian Air Force Mi-24 helicopter over Serpents’ Island, and a Bayraktar-TB2 unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down near the city of Odessa,” the same source said. †

Ukrainian authorities have been warning for days of a possible intensification of the Russian attacks as the May 9 anniversary approaches.

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will participate on Sunday in a virtual meeting of the leaders of the G7, of which Germany will hold the presidency this year. This third meeting since the beginning of the year will focus on the situation in Ukraine.


PHOTOGRAPH OF THE UKRAINE PRESIDENCY VIA AFP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) met Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in Kiev.

US President Joe Biden had mentioned this meeting a few days earlier, about possible additional sanctions against Russia.

“We are always open to additional sanctions,” he said on Wednesday, adding that he would discuss with G7 members “what we will and will not do”.

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