Russia-Ukraine War: Russia’s allegations about the capture of Mariupol fuel concerns about prisoners of war

Ukraine, Pokrovsk-Russia’s seizure of the Mariupol ironworks, a symbol of Ukraine’s tenacity, gave Russian President Vladimir Putin the urgently needed victory in the war he began, ruining the city and more. More than 20,000 inhabitants who blocked the siege of almost three months were afraid of death.

Concerns over Ukrainian defenders currently in Russian hands after the Russian Defense Ministry announced late Friday that its troops had removed the last Ukrainian fighter from miles of underground tunnels in the factory. It has risen.

Denis Pushilin, head of the eastern region of Ukraine, dominated by Moscow-backed separatists, said the Ukrainians were considered heroes by their fellow citizens because of their wartime actions. He said he would definitely face the court.

“I think the courts are inevitable here. I think justice must be restored. This is a request from the general public, society, and perhaps a healthy part of world society,” Russia’s national news agency Tass said. The communication quoted Psylin. As you say.

Russian officials and state media have repeatedly attempted to characterize a fighter trapped in the Azovstal ironworks as a neo-Nazi. Among the more than 2,400 defenders of the factory were members of the Azov Battalion, a national guard with roots on the far right.

The Ukrainian government has not commented on Russia’s allegations of capturing Azovstal. Azovstal has achieved Moscow’s long-standing goal of controlling a city with a strategic port, with Mariupol’s last stop on Ukraine’s resistance.

Ukrainian troops this week said fighters were trapped in factories, hundreds were injured, missions were completed and they could leave. It described their withdrawal as evacuation rather than mass surrender.

The impact of the Russian-declared victory on the wider war in Ukraine remained unclear. Many Russian troops had already been relocated from Mariupol to other parts of the conflict. It began with Russia’s invasion of neighboring countries on February 24th.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov reported on Saturday that Russia had destroyed a special operations base in Ukraine in the Black Sea region of Odesa and a large storehouse of weapons supplied from the west in the Zhytomyr region in northern Ukraine. bottom. There was no confirmation from the Ukrainian side.

In a report of operations that morning, Ukrainian staff reported fierce fighting in much of eastern Ukraine, including the areas of Severodonetsk, Bakumut and Avdiivka.

Since failing to reach and occupy the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Russia has concentrated its attacks on the industrial center of eastern Ukraine. Russian-backed separatists have dominated parts of the Donbus region since 2014, and Moscow wants to expand its territory.

Mariupol, part of Donbus, is a horrifying example for people elsewhere in the country of hunger, horror, and death that could be faced if Russians were blocked early in the war and surrounded their communities. have become.

As the end approached the steelworks, the fighter wives, who were working hard, said they were afraid that it would be their last contact with their husbands.

Olga Boyko, the wife of the Marines, shared the words her husband wrote to her on Thursday and wiped her tears. I love you. to kiss. good bye. “

Another fighter’s wife, Natalia Zaritskaya, said her husband reported earlier this week that only eight of the 32 soldiers he served survived, most of them seriously injured. rice field.

“Now they are on the road from hell to hell. Every corner of this road is deadly,” said Zaritskaya.

The sea-sized steelworks, which occupy about 11 square kilometers (4 square miles), have been a battlefield for weeks. Declining fighters, with the help of air drops of supplies, igniting Russian airstrikes, cannons and tanks, before their government orders them to abandon plants and save themselves. Group held up.

Russia said the commander of the Azov Battalion was taken from the factory in an armored vehicle on suspicion of the locals’ hatred of him.

There is no evidence of Ukrainian opposition to the nationalist regiment. The Kremlin seized the far-right origin of the regiment in throwing an invasion as a battle against the Nazi influence in Ukraine.

Russian officials have threatened to investigate and bring some of the defenders of the steelworks to trial for war crimes.

Occupation of Mariupol facilitates Russia’s quest to essentially create an overpass from Russia, via much of the Donbus region bordering Russia, from Ukraine to the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow merged in 2014. To do.

The city’s seizure also caused some bitter retreats, including the failure of Russian leader Putin to hijack Kyiv, the sinking of the Russian Navy’s flagship in the Black Sea, and continued resistance that stagnated attacks in eastern Ukraine. Helps to offset.

Due to Mariupol’s control of Russia, Ukrainian authorities may be delayed in documenting evidence of Russian atrocities, such as the bombing of maternity hospitals and theaters concealed by civilians.

Satellite images in April showed what appeared to be a mass grave just outside Mariupol. Local officials have accused Russia of burying up to 9,000 civilians and concealing the slaughter.

Earlier this month, hundreds of civilians fled the factory during a humanitarian fire and talked about the fear of constant bombing, the dampness of the basement, and the fear that they couldn’t survive. ..

At some point in the siege, Pope Francis lamented that Mariupol had become a “city of martyrs.”

An estimated 100,000 of the 450,000 people who lived there before the war remain. Many people involved in the Russian siege lost food, water and electricity.

Earlier this month, hundreds of civilians were evacuated from the steelworks during a humanitarian fire. They talked about the constant fear of bombing, the dampness of the basement, and the fear that they wouldn’t bring it to life.

The CEO of Metinvest, a multinational company that owns the Azovstal iron and another steelworks in Mariupol, spoke about the devastation of the city in an interview published Saturday in the Italian newspaper Colliere de la Serra. ..

“Russians are trying to clean (the city) to hide crime. Residents are trying to get the city to work and the water supply to work again,” said Yuri Rizenkov, CEO of Metinvest. I have. “

“But the sewers have been damaged, floods have occurred, and infections are feared,” he said.

The Illich Steel and Ironworks still has some intact infrastructure, but when the Russians try to get it up and running, the Ukrainians will refuse to return to work there, Ryzhenkov said. ..

“We will never work under Russian occupation,” Rizenkov said.


McKillan reported from Lviv. Stashevskyi reported from Kyiv. Associated Press journalists Yuras Karmanau from Lviv, Andrea Rosa from Kharkiv, Frances D’Emilio from Rome, and other AP staff from around the world contributed.


Follow the Associated Press report on the war in Ukraine: https: //apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © 2022 By AP communication. all rights reserved.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia’s allegations about the capture of Mariupol fuel concerns about prisoners of war

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