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Ukraine: Russians transfer elite units to a new battlefield News

KIU, Ukraine – Russia has moved a dozen troops from the devastated port of Mariupol to eastern Ukraine and launched strikes on cities across the region, Ukrainian authorities said on Friday as both sides plunged into an epic battle for control of the country’s industrial center.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has not acknowledged the attack on the ship. He went on to say the fire after the munitions exploded, without explaining how it happened. The loss of guided missile cruiser – the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet – was a humiliating failure for Moscow.

In Mariupol, For weeks the bombing shifted mostly to smoking rubbleRussian state television showed the flag of pro-Moscow Donetsk separatists, raised at the highest point of the city, its TV tower. It was also shown that the main building of the blockaded Mariupol metallurgical plant “Azovstal” was on fire.

The Kremlin has sent more than 100,000 troops and mercenaries from Syria and Libya to Ukraine and is deploying more and more forces in the country every day, said Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Alexei Danilov.

“We have a difficult situation, but our army is defending our state,” he said.

Many towns and villages have been bombed in the Donbas, an industrial region in the east that the Kremlin has declared a new main theater of operations, and in the Kharkiv region in the west and south, authorities said.

Russian troops have beaten about 2,000 Ukrainian fighters hiding inside the extensive Azovstal plant, the last known source of resistance in the strategic southern port city, the mayor’s office said.

“Several bombs are dropped on Azovstal every day,” said Mariupol mayor’s adviser Piotr Andryushchanka. “Fighting, shelling, bombing do not stop.”

The day before, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced victory in the battle for Mariupol, despite the stability of the metallurgical plant. He ordered his troops not to storm the plant to finish off the defenders, but to close it instead, apparently to force them to surrender.

In the war Mariupol gained great importance. Its capture would deprive Ukrainians of a vital port and complete the land corridor between Russia and the Crimean peninsula that Putin seized from Ukraine in 2014.

It will also allow Putin to throw more of his forces into a potentially culminating battle for the Donbass and its coal mines, factories and other industries, or what the Kremlin has now declared its main goal.

Danilov said that 12 to 14 elite Russian military units had actually left Mariupol and started moving east to take part in the fighting.

“It will be difficult for our forces now, because our guys in Mariupol took over (those parts). It is their courage and feat, ”he said.

Danilov also said that Kyiv managed to deliver weapons by helicopter to the Mariupol Metallurgical Plant, which had been bombed for weeks, at great risk.

Putin said Russia had given Ukrainian forces at the plant the opportunity to surrender with guarantees of their lives, and offered “decent treatment and medical care”, according to a Kremlin account of a telephone conversation with European Council President Charles Michel. .

“But the Kiev regime does not allow them to take this opportunity,” Putin said.

According to Ukrainian authorities, more than 100,000 people – less than the pre-war population of about 430,000 – were trapped in Mariupol with little food, water or heat, and more than 20,000 civilians were killed in a nearly two-month siege, according to Ukrainians. authorities.

Most attempts to evacuate civilians from the city failed due to, according to Ukrainians, the continuation of Russian shelling.

Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Verashchuk said that on Friday in Ukraine will not open humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of citizens, because it is too dangerous. She called on civilians to “be patient” and “hold on”.

A few days after Russia’s invasion to the east, the campaign has not yet turned into a full offensive, and military analysts say Moscow’s forces are still growing and have not made major breakthroughs in the Donbas and have not gained significant positions.

But on Friday in the Donetsk region, which is part of the Donbass, as a result of shelling killed three civilians, said in a news program, the governor of the region Pavel Kirilenko. Kirilenko said that the Russians opened fire on at least 20 settlements in the region.

In another case, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said talks between the two countries had “stopped” because Moscow had not received a response from Kyiv to its latest proposals, details of which have not been released.

Vladimir Medinsky, Putin’s leading negotiator, said he had several lengthy talks with the head of the Ukrainian delegation on Friday. He did not provide any details.

In addition, Rustam Minekayev, a senior Russian military official, has publicly outlined Russian military goals that seemed broader than what the Kremlin has said in recent weeks. He said that Russian forces were trying to take full control not only of eastern Ukraine but also of the south.

He said the move would pave the way for the Moldovan nation, where Russia supports the separatist Transnistrian region. Moldovan officials are watching Putin’s actions in Ukraine.

In his night video, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine was supposed to be just the beginning; then they want to capture other countries. “

Zelensky’s adviser Mikhail Podalak added that Russia “has always lied to everyone and that, in fact, from the very beginning wanted to foolishly steal part of Ukraine to ensure access to Transnistria.”

Satellite photos released Friday by Maxar Technologies showed what seemed to be second fraternal funeral excavated recently near Mariupol. There are several recently excavated parallel trenches about 131 feet long at the cemetery in the town of Vinogradno, Maksar said.

The day before, Maxar made public satellite photos of what represented rows after rows of more than 200 freshly excavated mass graves near the cemetery in the town of Mangush near Mariupol. This has sparked Ukrainian accusations that the Russians are trying to hide the killing of civilians in the city.

“This once again confirms that the occupiers are organizing the collection, burial and cremation of the dead in every district of the city,” Andryushchenko said in the Telegram program.

Ukrainians have estimated that the graves in the photos published on Thursday may contain 9,000 bodies.

The Kremlin has not responded to satellite imagery.

The UN Office of Human Rights has again condemned the Russian invasion.

“Over the past eight weeks, international humanitarian law has not just been ignored, but seems to have been pushed aside,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

This was reported by Fish of Zaporozhye, Ukraine. Associated Press journalists Mstislav Chernov and Felipe Dana in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Yuras Karmanov in Lviv, Inna Varenitsa in Kveve, and Robert Burns and Aamer Madhani of Washington contributed to the report, as did other AP staffers around the world.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.

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