Putin stated that he would like a Mariupol steelworks, which is the last bastion of resistance in the besieged city in the southeastern region to be blocked so that no fly can pass.
He told Sergei Shoigu (his defence minister) to cancel the Azovstal attack in a live televised meeting at Kremlin.
Putin stated, “I find the proposed storming the industrial zone unnecessary.”
“I command you to cancel it.”
Russia “trucks dead bodies from Mariupol” to cover atrocities
Russia “trucking dead bodies in Mariupol to hide atrocities – Ukraine’s latest
After warnings from Ukrainian defenders that they could not “hold on for much longer”, Ramzan Kadyrov, a Chechen warlord, claimed that Russian forces would seize control of the port city.
Since the war in Ukraine started almost two months ago, this city has been a major target for Russia.
Around 1,000 civilians are believed to have sought refuge from missile and shell attacks on the steelworks.
Putin stated that he decided not to storm the plant in order to save the lives of Russian soldiers.
Shoigu was told by he that there is no need for anyone to climb into these catacombs or crawl under these industrial facilities.
“Block this industrial area so that no fly can pass through.”
Other important developments:
* President Zelenskyy is confident of victory, but calls for faster delivery heavy weapons
* Ukraine claims that fighters from Syria and Libya are now in conflict
* Novak Djokovic describes Wimbledon’s ban of Russian and Belarussian players as “crazy”.
Russia claims that it has captured British fighters and is “giving necessary help”.
* Boris Johnson stated that peace talks with Russia were likely to fail, and compared talks to Putin to negotiating alongside a crocodile.
Putin called upon the remaining Ukrainian fighters to surrender in Azovstal, saying that Russia would provide medical aid and treat them with respect.
After fighting almost constant attacks for days, Serhiy Volny, commander of the Ukrainian Marine Corps warned that fighters at this plant might not be able “to hold out for much longer”.
Sky News interviewed him and he stated that troops were outnumbered by 10 to 1 and that more fighters are in need of medical attention.
He said that the enemy units were dozens of times bigger than ours and have dominance in air, artillery, ground troops, equipment, and tanks.
Kadyrov (the head of the Russian republic in Chechnya), whose forces have been fighting against Ukraine, insists that Mariupol will fall today.
He stated that Azovstal would be under the complete control of the Russian Federation forces “before lunchtime or after lunch.”
Moscow’s greatest victory in war thus far would be the fall of the city.
Ukraine prisoner of War swap offer
On Wednesday, Mariupol’s situation became so dire that Volodymyr Zelenskyy (the president of Ukraine) suggested swapping Russian prisoners-of-war for a humanitarian corridor, which would allow civilians to flee the city.
Ukraine is open to a “special round” of negotiations with no conditions, “to save our guys Azov [battalion], civilians, military, children, the dying and the wounded”, Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukrainian negotiator, stated.
Russia develops missile capable of evading “any defense system”
Why does Russia focus on the east?
On Wednesday, four evacuation buses carrying approximately 80 civilians from Mariupol left Mariupol.
Although more than 5 million people fled the country after war broke out in 1991, it is believed that thousands of people are still stuck in Mariupol, with limited food, water, and access to medical supplies.
Russians take over town
Russia continues its offensive to seize control of the country’s eastern region, also known as the Donbass region.
The Ministry of Defence of Ukraine stated that missiles and artillery hit 1,001 military targets in Ukraine over the night, including 162 firing positions.
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Kharkiv is the mayor of Ukraine’s second-largest city. He said that it was under heavy bombardment.
Russian forces and Russian-backed separatists also took full control of Kreminna, eastern Ukraine.
Luhansk’s governor claimed that Russian forces now have control of 80% of his territory.
Serhiy Haidai stated that Kremlin troops now threaten the cities of Rubizhne, Popasna and other areas after they have taken control of Kreminna.
Mariupol could not be stopped by a miracle
Deborah Haynes is security and defense editor
Vladimir Putin’s decision to cancel plans for a storm at Mariupol’s last stronghold of resistance means that the Ukrainian city is not yet completely under Russian control. However, it seems unlikely that this will happen.
Instead, the Russian president ordered that a blockade is maintained around a large steelworks where hundreds of civilians and thousands of Ukrainian fighters are held up.
This is a final act for Ukrainian defenders, who have survived almost two months of sustained bombardments. However, it does prevent the Kremlin from declaring the strategic port city fully under Russian control.
The government of Ukraine is working to ensure safe passage for its citizens, but Russia is not showing any signs that they are willing to allow them to flee.
Mariupol’s fall would be the most significant capture of a Ukrainian town since the invasion began. Russian forces are believed to be trying to gain victories ahead of Victory Day, which is celebrated on the 9th of May to commemorate the end of Second World War.
The city’s seizure, which had once been home to nearly half a million people, came at a terrible cost to its inhabitants. Over 20,000 civilians were killed and many more were wounded. Hundreds of thousands fled.
Mariupol has been almost flattened.
Russian strikes have caused damage to around 90% of homes and buildings, with 40% of buildings being destroyed.
The Kyiv government held 60% of the Luhansk area – one of two Donbas areas – before Russia invaded.
On Telegram, Mr Haidai stated that “the occupiers only control parts of these cities and are unable to break into the centres.”
Analysts believe the Ukraine-Russian offensive in the east could turn into a war to attrition, as Russia is facing the most experienced Ukrainian troops who have been fighting pro-Moscow separatists for eight years in the Donbas.
Brit prisoner ‘being taken care’
Russia’s foreign ministry said that two British fighters captured are being fed, watered, and provided with any assistance needed.
“Don’t worry. The Russian side is taking good care of them. They are provided with the required assistance, including food, water, and shelter. Maria Zakharova, a foreign ministry spokesperson, said that they are treated the same as other foreigners who surrendered or were detained.
Two British soldiers captured in Ukraine by Russian troops appeared on Russian state television Monday and requested to be swapped for a Ukrainian ally.
Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner asked for Viktor Medvedchuk to be exchanged. He is currently being held by Ukrainian authorities.