Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused, on Sunday April 17, Russia of wanting ” destroy “ the entire eastern region of Donbass, promising that everything possible would be done to defend it, starting with the strategic port of Mariupol, where the encircled soldiers are called to fight ” until the end “. “Russian soldiers are preparing for an offensive in the east of our country in the near future. They literally want to complete and destroy Donbass.”hammered Mr. Zelensky in a video message.
“Just as the Russian army is destroying Mariupol, it wants to destroy other cities and other communities in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions”he continued, before launching: “We do everything to defend. » “Sabotage the orders of the occupants.” Do not cooperate with them. (…) You have to put up with”he said again, adding for Westerners that “the need for an embargo on oil deliveries from Russia is becoming more important every day”.
In the east, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that “high-precision missiles had destroyed fuel and ammunition stores” in Barvinkove (Izium region) and Dobropillia (not far from Donetsk). “The constant bombardment of the region [de Louhansk] keep going”, at the same time deplored its Ukrainian governor, Serguiï Gaïdaï. the town of “Zolote was hit hard today. They deliberately targeted a five-story building. (…) Two people died and five were injured..
In this context, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister announced the suspension of the humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from the eastern part of Ukraine, due to the lack of agreement with the Russian army on the ceasefire. Further north, in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, at least five people were killed and 20 others wounded in a series of Russian attacks on Sunday, regional governor Oleg Sinegoubov said. “In the last four days alone, 18 people have died and 106 have been injured” in the bombing of this city, for his part Mr. Zelensky pointed out, punishing a “deliberate terror”.
Ignoring Russia’s ultimatum, which had asked the last Ukrainian soldiers present in Mariupol to lay down their arms on Sunday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Chmygal assured that the resistance would continue. “No, the city did not fall. Our soldiers are still there. They will fight to the end. As I speak to you, you are still in Mariupol.”he told US television channel ABC.
Moscow had asked the last Ukrainian fighters, entrenched in the Azovstal metallurgical complex, to cease fire in the morning and evacuate the compound at noon. “All those who have laid down their arms will have their lives guaranteed”promised the Russian Ministry of Defense on Telegram. “It’s Your Only Chance”. In the early hours of Sunday, the Ukrainian General Staff reported on Russian air strikes in Mariupol and mentioned “assault operations near the port”without further details.
Mariupol, strategic objective
The capture of this city would be a major victory for the Russians, as it would allow them to consolidate their coastal territorial gains along the Sea of Azov by uniting the Donbass region, controlled in part by their supporters, with Crimea, which Moscow annexed. in 2014. For Volodymyr Zelensky, “The situation in Mariupol remains as serious as it can be. Simply inhuman”.
He believes that there is only “two options” : Either the Westerners immediately hand over heavy weapons to help him lift the siege on this city of 441,000 people before the start of the Russian offensive on February 24, or they help him obtain a cessation of fighting through negotiation. “There is no food, water or medicine” in Mariupol, he got carried away by the media, accusing Moscow of ” to reject “ the establishment of humanitarian corridors.
The Ukrainian deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, for her part, demanded this Sunday the opening of an evacuation route for the wounded soldiers who are still there. According to the executive director of the World Food Program, David Beasley, more than 100,000 civilians are on the verge of starvation in Mariupol, also without heating.
In the kyiv region, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Sunday that it had fired high-precision missiles at an ammunition factory near Brovary. The mayor of this town, Igor Sapojko, stated that “some elements of the infrastructure had been affected” in the early hours of the day. In the past three days, Russian forces have carried out several attacks on military factories in the capital region, following the shooting down of the Moskva cruiser in the Black Sea. And the talks between the Russians and the Ukrainians have stalled for several days.