Putin Cancels The Plan To Storm The Mariupol Plant And Replaces It With A Blockade.
President Vladimir Putin canceled preparations for the Russian military to raid the vast Azovstal steel complex in Mariupol, Ukraine’s port city, on Thursday, instead requesting that Ukrainian forces be hermetically walled in.
The complete conquest of Mariupol, which has been besieged by Russian soldiers for weeks, is a key component of Moscow’s plans to shut Ukraine off from the Sea of Azov and build a land bridge linking Russian-annexed Crimea to Russia.
After Ukrainian forces holed up inside refused Russian offers to surrender, Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s Chechnya region, whose forces have been fighting in Mariupol, suggested that the vast Azovstal facility, which covers more than 11 square kilometers (4.25 square miles), would be stored.
However, during a Kremlin conference with his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, Putin gave the order to abandon the plan to storm it, stating that it was preferable to save the lives of Russian soldiers and officers by sitting back and waiting until Ukrainian forces ran out of supplies.
In a televised discussion at the Kremlin, Putin informed Shoigu, “I consider the proposed storming of the industrial zone unnecessary.” “I’d like you to call it off. There’s no need to enter these catacombs or crawl through these industrial facilities underneath “‘I told Shoigu,’ he said.
“Block Off This Industrial Zone So That Not Even A Fly Can Get Through.”
Putin urged the remaining Ukrainian forces in Azovstal to lay down their arms, promising that Russia would treat them with respect and assist those who were injured.
Shoigu had previously briefed Putin that more than 2,000 Ukrainian fighters were still holed up at the factory and that retaking control of the facility could take three or four days.
Putin thanked his defense minister for the “successful military operation” to “liberate Mariupol,” and requested him to convey his gratitude to Russian servicemen. “I want them all to know that they are heroes in our minds, in the minds of all of Russia,” Putin said.
On May 9, Russia will mark the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II with its annual Victory Day holiday, and it is expected to use the full control of Mariupol as proof that it is making progress in Ukraine despite significant losses.
On February 24, Russia dispatched tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine in what it described as a “special military operation” aimed at degrading its southern neighbor’s military capabilities and rooting out “dangerous nationalists.” Ukraine’s soldiers have resisted, and the West has put broad sanctions on Russia in an attempt to force it to remove its men.
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