Digging in For a ‘Last Stand’ in Mariupol

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Mariupol

Russia gave forces defending the Ukrainian city of Mariupol an ultimatum to surrender. The deadline went whooshing past with the locals telling Vladimir Putin to go bleep himself. Latest word is that they’re digging in at an iron and steel plant, preparing to make their “last stand.

Mariupol fights to the bitter end

International analysts are reporting that the fate of Mariupol hangs on “an unknown number of defenders making their last stand.” The Russian Defense Ministry gave the remaining Ukrainian troops an order to evacuate the port city by dawn in Moscow on Sunday. They didn’t surrender. On Monday, April 18, “heavy fighting” continues.

Petro Andriushchenko, speaking for the city’s mayor confirms that “Russian forces had begun issuing passes for movement within the city.” The invaders are closing all the entry and exit routes to the urban area on Monday, while “warning that men remaining in the city” would be “filtered out.

Unconfirmed reports note that currently, Russian forces are “bombarding the Azovstal plant, one of the city’s last bastions still under Ukrainian control.

Analysts explain that the sprawling complex is an iron and steel works situated in the southestern corner of Mariupol. The Kremlin also announced that they have “blockaded Ukrainian forces there.” Before the invasion, more than 10,000 people worked in the compound, which spans more than four square miles.

Nobody, especially the Russians, has any idea how many Ukrainian troops are still putting up a resistance from the steelworks. Along with uniformed soldiers and irregular volunteers, women with children and babies are hunkering in the bunkers at Azovstal.

The commander of the Ukrainian Marine unit defending Mariupol declares, the once lovely city is “what hell on earth looks like.” Those women and children aren’t just scared, they’re hungry, cold and subjected to daily bombings.

No medicine, water or food

According to Major Serhii Volyna, commander of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade, in an open letter to Pope Francis, in Mariupol, “The wounded die every day because there is no medicine, no water, no food. The time has come when praying is not enough.

One U.S. General and network military analyst for CNN, Mark Hertling, notes that the city is “a critical logistics hub.” Situated strategically on coast of the Sea of Azov, the territory is a prime target for Putin.

Occupation of Mariupol would allow Russia “to create a continuous land bridge from Donbas to Crimea, the peninsula it illegally annexed in 2014.” As General Hertling points out, “It not only has roads, but it also has railroads and it has ports.” Along with crucial transportation networks, the city “has roads going in every single direction.”

For instance, “that road to the east goes to Rostov on Don inside of Russia, the roads to the north and northeast go to Luhansk and Donetsk, the roads to the northwest go to Zaporizhzhia and the roads to the south go down to the port city of Berdyansk.

The Pentagon is convinced that “this next phase of the war is going to be a fight for logistics.” the town, he insists, “is a critically important city in the eastern region.” Russia wants the city so bad that they are resorting to criminal atrocities.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the situation in Mariupol “inhumane” and said Russia was “trying to destroy everyone who is there.” Right now, it’s estimated that 100,000 people remain in the general vicinity and “have no way out.