Mariupol experiences ‘bloody fighting’ in Azovstal

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke by phone today with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. In April, Zelensky refused to receive the German. The Ukrainian government indicated that Zelensky and Steinmeier “agreed to put the past behind them and focus on future cooperation.” The Ukrainian invited the German president and Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Kiev.

“Germany remains a powerful ally of Ukraine,” said Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff of the Presidency of Ukraine, who confirmed the contact between the presidents. “There will be an official announcement about the details [da conversa]. I can only say that the Russians’ hope of dividing Europe’s unity in support of Ukraine is in vain.”

The invitation comes after a political crisis between the two sides, as the Ukrainian president would not have accepted a visit from the German head of state for his “link” with the Russians in the past, and comes after a phone call between the two on Thursday.

In April, Steinmeier planned to visit the Ukrainian capital together with Polish President Andrej Duda, according to information in the Bild newspaper. The idea had come from the head of the Polish government, who also wanted to bring together the presidents of the Baltic countries.” The trip would take place on April 12, after Steinmeier’s trip to Warsaw, Poland.

However, according to “Bild”, Zelensky did not want to receive the German president, due to the links that the politician had with the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline.

The president of Germany was a member of the cabinet of Social Democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, and later also joined the government of Angela Merkel, between 2005 and 2009, and between 2013 and 2017, as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Schröder and Russian President Vladmir Putin signed an agreement to build the first joint gas pipeline between the two countries, which came into operation in 2011.

azovstal

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said in a report published today that “Russian occupiers are focusing their efforts on blocking and trying to destroy” their units in the area of ​​the Azovstal complex in the southeastern port city of Mariupol. “With aircraft support, the enemy has resumed the offensive to take control of the plant.”

Based on satellite images, the Ukrainian government’s Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security said that “Russia does not stop invading Azovstal”. “As the commander of the Azov Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Denis Prokopenko, previously reported, the occupiers have invaded Azovstal territory and bloody fighting continues.”

The report of attacks comes amid Russia’s announcement of a ceasefire at the site from today to Saturday (7) for the evacuation of civilians who were refugees in the complex. Yesterday, according to the Ukrainian government, at least 344 people, part of them from the port city, were evacuated through the corridor between Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia.

According to Ukraine, “the Russians, once again, violated the promise of a truce and did not allow the evacuation of civilians, who continue to hide from the bombing in the basements”.

In a telephone conversation with the Secretary-General of the United Nations (United Nations) yesterday, Zelensky requested assistance in evacuating the wounded from Azovstal. “The lives of the people who remain there are in danger. They are all important to us. We ask for your help to save them.”

azovstal - Reproduction/SPRAVDI - Reproduction/SPRAVDI

Smoke is seen in the Azovstal complex in Mariupol from satellite images

Image: Reproduction/SPRAVDI

On this 71st day of the war, the Russian Defense Ministry reported new missile attacks on Ukrainian territory. “More than 600 nationalists [militares] and 61 units of weapons and military equipment were destroyed.”

One of the points of attack was the city of Kramatorsk, in the Donetsk region. “Four concentration areas of military manpower and equipment, as well as two warehouses of military equipment on a military airfield” were hit in the area, according to Russian Defense. Ukrainian authorities, however, indicate that 25 civilians were injured.

“Six of the injured need medical care at the hospital,” said Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. “The missiles damaged 9 houses, a school and several civilian infrastructures. Unable to fight the Ukrainian army, the Russians continue to ‘fight’ our civilians”, added the governor, saying that what happened was a “war crime of the army Russian”.

kramatorsk - Reproduction/SPRAVDI - Reproduction/SPRAVDI

At least 25 people were injured in the attack on Kramatorsk, a city in eastern Ukraine.

Image: Reproduction/SPRAVDI

“Do not stop”

According to Ukrainian Defense, “the enemy does not stop carrying out offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone to establish full control over the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and maintain the land corridor with Crimea.”

Ukraine also said it was watching movements in Moldova, identifying tensions in the pro-Russian area in the neighboring country. “[O exército] carries out regrouping of troops in certain areas, takes measures to replenish reserves. He is trying to improve the tactical position of his units.”

Despite the Russian offensive, the Ukrainian Defense reported hitting “nine air targets”, including missiles and drones. Ukraine is also said to have launched missiles and bombed Russian positions.

Map Russia invades Ukraine - 26.02.2022 - Arte UOL - Arte UOL
Image: UOL Art

Belarus

UK Defense Ministry intelligence said it believed Russia, along with Belarus, would try to keep Ukraine’s attention also in the north of its territory at a time when eastern Ukraine is Russia’s main objective.

According to the British, forces from Belarus, a country allied to the Russians and neighboring the Ukrainians, were observed during military exercises. “Russia will likely seek to inflate the threat these exercises pose to Ukraine in order to pin Ukrainian forces in the north, preventing them from committing to the battle for Donbass. [área separatista].”

In the UK Defense assessment, “deviation from normal exercise activity that could pose a threat to allies and partners is not currently anticipated.”

weapons and thanks

Commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi reinforced today that “providing Ukraine with missile systems is very important”. The report was made after Russia carried out, on Tuesday (3), attacks on railways to target the transport of weapons. “The main objective of these actions is to destroy the logistical routes of military technical assistance to Ukraine.”

In the message he published today, Zaluzhnyi thanked Ukraine’s allies for supplying weapons. “We are successfully overcoming all difficulties associated with acquiring new weapons and equipment through cooperation and support at all levels,” he said.

“Today, our military is not just intensively learning how to use and maintain NATO weapons. [Organização do Tratado do Atlântico Norte]but also share their combat experience with partners.”

For the Russian government, the military and information aid that Western countries provide to Ukraine prevents Russia from quickly completing its offensive.

donations

Zelensky today announced the launch of a fundraising platform called United24, with the aim of “uniting people in their will to help Ukraine”.

The platform will receive donations that will be used in three areas:

  • Defense and Demining
  • Humanitarian and Medical Aid
  • Ukraine’s Reconstruction

Ukraine promises to provide reports of what has been raised every 24 hours and to report once a week the distribution of funds in each area.

(With Ansa and AFP)

About Abhishek Pratap

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