War in Ukraine, Day 74 | ‘Giving up is not an option’ for Azovstal defenders

(Kyiv) The Ukrainian soldiers who for many weeks have been holed up in the underground galleries of the huge Azovstal Steelworks, the last bastion of resistance against the Russian army in the ruined port of Mariupol (south-east), declared their expulsion on Sunday.

Posted at 7:32
Updated at 9:32 am

“Surrender is not an option because Russia is not interested in our lives. Letting us live doesn’t matter to them,” said Ilya Samoilenko, a Ukrainian intelligence officer, during a video-transmitted news conference.

“All our supplies are limited. We still have water. We still have ammo. We will have our guns with us. We will fight until the best result of this situation,” he added from the basements of the industrial site.

“We, the military personnel of the Mariupol garrison, witnessed the war crimes committed by Russia, by the Russian army. We are witnessing it,” added Mr. Samoilenko, who spoke sometimes in Ukrainian, sometimes in English during the conference.

Mariupol has been under almost complete Russian control for several weeks. Only the huge Azovstal Steel Works escaped him, which the Russian army relentlessly crushed, in addition to large-scale attacks on the ground, where fierce fighting broke out.

According to Kyiv, until the evacuation of the last women, children and elderly people on Saturday, many civilians were there with the Ukrainian fighters in extreme conditions.

The capture of Azovstal would allow Moscow to claim full control of Mariupol, a strategic port on the southern tip of the Donbass that had a population of almost half a million before the war but was almost completely destroyed by a two-month siege and Russian bombardment.

60 missing in school strike

As Russian attacks on eastern Ukraine intensify, 60 people are missing in a school bombing.


PHOTO UKRAINIAN MINISTRY OF EMERGENCIES VIA REUTERS

A school in the village of Bilogorivka was the target of a Russian strike on Saturday.

These people sought refuge in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, regional governor Sergei Gaidai said on Sunday. The village of “Bilogorivka” suffered an air raid. The bombs hit the school and unfortunately it was completely destroyed,” the governor said on his Telegram account.

“There were a total of 90 people. 27 were rescued […] Sixty people who were at the school are most likely dead,” he said.

“The enemy has not stopped offensive operations in the Eastern Operation Zone since 2014 in order to gain full control over the territory of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson Oblasts and maintain the land corridor between these areas and occupied Crimea,” the Ukrainian General Staff said on Sunday morning .

He said that Russian troops in the Donetsk region continued offensive operations around Lyman, Popasnyansky, Severodonetsk and Avdiivka. And that the situation on Moldova’s side is “tense”.

Selenskyj at the G7

On the Russian side, the Defense Ministry claims in its briefing on Sunday the destruction of the “command post of a mechanized brigade” in the Kharkov region (east), as well as “the communications center of the Chervonoglinskoye military airbase nearby”. the village of Artsyz”.

Separately, the air defenses “destroyed two more Ukrainian Su-24 bombers and a Ukrainian Air Force Mi-24 helicopter over Snake Island, and a Bayraktar-TB2 UAV came under fire near the city of Odessa,” according to the same source.

The Ukrainian authorities have been warning of a possible intensification of Russian attacks in the run-up to the May 9th commemoration.

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will take part in a virtual meeting of the heads of state and government of the G7 on Sunday, of which Germany holds the presidency this year. This third meeting since the beginning of the year will deal with the situation in Ukraine.


UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY PHOTO VIA AFP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (right) met Croatian Prime Minister Andrei Plenkovic in Kyiv.

US President Joe Biden had discussed possible additional sanctions against Russia at this meeting a few days earlier.

“We are always open to additional sanctions,” he said on Wednesday, adding that he would discuss “what we do and don’t do” with G7 members.

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