Intense shelling was reported for the second day in a row in the southeastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, which is located in Donetsk oblast on the Sea of Azov.
The city’s mayor told reporters on Thursday that Mariupol had been encircled and was under constant attack for the previous 24 hours. He accused Russian forces of targeting civilian infrastructure.
“They are trying to prevent us from repairing electricity, water and heating supply,” Mayor Vadym Boychenko said. He said Russia was trying to create a blockade on Mariupol just “like Leningrad,” referring to the Nazi siege during World War II.
Mariupol is the base of the infamous far-right neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which started as a militia in 2014 and was absorbed by Ukraine’s National Guard. The Azov Battalion helped Ukrainian forces drive out the separatists of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) not long after the DPR declared independence in 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin framed his invasion of Ukraine as an effort to “de-Nazify” the country, so the Russian operation in Mariupol was expected to be more brutal than attacks on other Ukrainian cities.
DPR officials have accused the Azov Battalion and the Right Sector, another far-right group with neo-Nazi ties, of blocking civilians from leaving Mariupol. “Azov and Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) members are preventing people from leaving through the humanitarian corridor that we established for civilians. They are detaining people,” the DPR’s deputy militia chief said Thursday, according to Tass.
For his part, Mayor Boychenko blamed Russia for preventing civilians from fleeing Mariupol by targeting transportation infrastructure. He said Russian troops damaged the rail link “so that we could not evacuate our women, children, and elderly people.”
Ukraine and Russia held talks in Belarus on Thursday and agreed to establish humanitarian corridors to help evacuate civilians from conflict zones in Ukraine.
8 thoughts on “Mariupol Mayor Says City Under Heavy Russian Bombardment”
City is being held hostage by Azov.
There was a video circulating a few days ago of a Azov soldier stopping a civilian car with a family inside trying to flee. Azov yanked Dad out and executed him on the spot with while children and mom cried.
IIRC Gonzalo Lira reported in one of his videos that the train from Kiev to Kharkov was still functioning, probably because Russia doesn’t want to interfere with normal Ukrainian life more than necessary. So the idea that Russia is blocking Ukrainians from escaping cities, especially in light of the agreement between Ukraine and Russia to allow humanitarian corridors in all cities under assault, is a non-starter.
It’s not even clear that Mariupol is under “bombardment”. It could well be precision strikes against specific targets. However, cutting water, electricity and heating would be done to force the city to fall without major civilian casualties. This is how it was done in Syria.
One would next expect probing attacks to determine resistance locations, then weakening attacks against that resistance, then when the city falls, send in the Chechens to mop-up the Azov Battalion diehards.
“It could well be precision strikes against specific targets.”
Any reason to believe that “precision strikes” are any less a myth when the Russians claim them than when the US claims them?
Their “smart” bombs are college graduates.
Yep. Mariupol is a part of the zone of Ukraine filled with Russians, and will probably be formally part of Russian none to soon. Why would the Russians want to do any more damage than necessary in such a place?
This isn’t like our US military wiping out some third world country half way across the world.
Russia lost the window for a nice, neat ‘clean’ war pretty much from day one.
Beslan was an attempt to rescue civilians too.
I have long held that the Black Sea is the major strategic war zone for Russia, Ukraine, and NATO. The Ukrainian areas that are held more or less solidly by Russia today bear that out. They include a strip along the Ukrainian coast which already connects the Crimea with Russia. Mariupol is critical because it is a major export port for Ukraine. After Mariupol Putin will go for Odessa.
The town of Zaporoshe was critical for the broadening/consolidation of that strip. For Ukraine it will be the hardest of the occupied zones to recover.
That zone has been part of Russia/Ukraine/USSR since the Russians under Catherine II took it all and permanently from the Ottoman Empire .
Azov Battalion should have been shocked and awed like the Islamic State was in Syria, their barracks and weapons depots destroyed day one based on months of intel gathering.
If you’re going to do something stupid like enter into a war of choice, do it smart. At least when the US went into Saddams’s Iraq, they won so fast far fewer people than could have, especially civilians, died. It was the Occupation that went wrong and re-ignited war.
Paul Craig Roberts covered Russia in Ukraine as well as any educated observer.
PCR makes the best assessments of Russia’s ongoing tactical fail in Ukraine that is fast becoming a strategic fail.
Or, maybe Putin wants the war to last, to demonstrate so he thinks Western weakness.
However, Ukraine’s nuke threat is still on the table. There isn’t time to waste.
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