Moscow Won’t Let Ukrainian Soldiers Leave Azovstal Factory, Zelenski Says
Ukrainian soldiers who have entrenched themselves in the Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol are not allowed to leave the site by Russian troops. “The Russian military has rejected any proposal to let them leave the site,” Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky said.
“The Mariupol defenders remain there; they continue the resistance on the Azovstal site,” it sounds. Zelensky added that Kyiv is using all available diplomatic means to facilitate the rescue of the soldiers.
About two months after the war started and after fierce fighting in the port city, Ukrainians have holed up in the Azovstal factory. They are fiercely resisting Russian soldiers and pro-Russian separatists. Heavy shelling by Russian troops has continued in recent days.
Several hundred civilians have recently been evacuated from the area with the help of the UN and the Red Cross. However, contrary to recent reports of the complete evacuation of civilians, Ukraine reports that about 100 civilians are still present.
In his daily video message, Zelensky said on Tuesday evening that “all our cities will be liberated: Kherson, Melitopol, Berdyansk, Mariupol and all other cities”.
According to the Ukrainian president, “the occupiers” are already “gradually being pushed away from Kharkiv”. He referred to the Ukrainian military leadership reports about territorial gains near the eastern Ukrainian city, published earlier Tuesday. There, the army is said to have recaptured villages from Russian forces and launched a counter-offensive that could shift the momentum of the war by halting Russia’s advance into eastern Ukraine.
“I am grateful for all our defenders who stand firm and show truly superhuman strength to drive the army of invaders out,” Zelenski said. “But I also want to call on all our people, especially those in the rear, not to spread exaggerated emotions. We should not create an atmosphere of specific moral pressure when certain victories are expected weekly and even daily.”