RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS MARIUPOL IS LIBERATED. AZOV MEMBERS REMAIN SURROUNDED IN INDUSTRIAL AREA

Forces of Russia and the Donetsk People’s Republic have de-facto liberated the city of Mariupol. The resistance of Kyiv’s forces remain in the Azovstal plant area only.

On April 21, the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that Mariupol is “liberated” and the remnants of Ukrainian nationalist formations are hiding in the Azovstal industrial area.

“The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the people’s militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic have liberated Mariupol. The remaining nationalists are hiding in the industrial area of the Azovstal steel plant.

Mariupol is a major industrial center and the main transport hub on the Sea of Azov. In 2014, the Kiev regime declared the city the temporary capital of the Donetsk Region, and during the subsequent eight years it has been turned into a powerful stronghold and the base of far-right Ukrainian nationalists. In fact, it was the capital of the Azov Battalion.

A large amount of heavy weaponry and military hardware have been deployed in the city, including tanks, the Smerch and Uragan multiple rocket launcher systems, heavy artillery systems and the Tochka-U missile complexes. Tochka-U has a range of 120 kilometres, while the distance from Mariupol to Russia’s city of Taganrog is 94 kilometres and approximately the same to Rostov, the capital of the Southern Federal District.

The city has been stocked with missiles, munitions, fuel and lubricants, and food provisions for lengthy hostilities. The main infrastructure facilities, including the seaport and the waterway, have been mined and blocked with floating cranes. The majority of vessels there belong to foreign states.

As for armoured vehicles, there were 179 tanks and armoured fighting vehicles there, 170 various guns and mortars, including multiple rocket launchers which I have already mentioned, the Smerch and Uragan systems. When the city was surrounded on March 11, there were more than 8,100 troops of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and nationalist units in the city, as well as foreign mercenaries, who formed a large group. During the operation to liberate the city, over 4,000 of them have been neutralised, 1,478 have surrendered, and the remaining group of over 2,000 has been blocked in the industrial area of the Azovstal plant.

In their resistance efforts, the nationalists used almost all residential buildings as fortified emplacements. Armoured vehicles and artillery were placed on ground floors, and snipers took up positions on upper floors. There were separate units armed with ATGMs as well. The residents were brought to the middle floors and basements and used as human shields. It was done in almost every block of flats.

When retreating, the Ukrainian army and the nationalist battalions in Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities were using civilians as a cover. We are aware of four instances when, in order to cover their retreat, they made people leave the basements. The latest incident was literally four days ago, when we were liberating the port area and they made almost everyone leave high-rise buildings so that they could flee leaving behind ruins, including completely destroyed socially important and cultural sites,” Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin.

Russian forces in Kharkiv Region:

Russian Defense Minister Says Mariupol Is Liberated. Azov Members Remain Surrounded In Industrial Area

Russian Defense Minister Says Mariupol Is Liberated. Azov Members Remain Surrounded In Industrial Area

Russian Defense Minister Says Mariupol Is Liberated. Azov Members Remain Surrounded In Industrial Area

Russian Defense Minister Says Mariupol Is Liberated. Azov Members Remain Surrounded In Industrial Area

In response, Russian President stated that it is needed to avoid a direct storm of this fortified area. He ordered to block it and once again propose fighters remaining there to surrender.

 “I believe it would be inadvisable to storm this industrial zone. I order you to cancel it.

….

This is the case when we have to prioritise preserving the lives and health of our soldiers and officers. Of course, this is our constant priority, but even more so in this case. There is no need to penetrate these catacombs and crawl under these industrial facilities.

Seal off the industrial zone completely,” President Putin said.

Meanwhile, fighting continues on other parts of the frontline in the region of Donbass. On April 21, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that forces of Russia and the Lugansk People’s Republic have taken full control of Kremennaya town. This very area was a stronghold of Kyiv’s forces, in particular nationalist formations.

The Defense Ministry added that during the night Russian operational-tactical and army aviation struck 20 areas of concentration of Ukrainian manpower and military equipment. Strikes were delivered in the areas of Shnurki, Novonikolaevka and Aleksandrovka.

A the same time, Russian missile troops and artillery hit 1,001 military assets of Ukraine. The targets included 58 command posts, 162 artillery firing positions, and 771 strong points and areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment in Mayaki, Dibrovnoe, Mazanovka, Dolina Krasnopol’e, Velikaya Kamyshevakha, Chervonoe, Vernopol’e, Pashkovka, Dmitrovka, Novaya Dmitrovka, Vysokiy, Chernoglazovka, Slatino, Zolochev, Partizanskoe, Aleksandrovka and Shevchenkovo of Nikolaev region.

In the same period, Russian air defence means destroyed 13 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles near Berezovaya, Brazhkovka, Verkhnetoretskoe, Debrovka, Izyum, Kalinovka, Kiselevka, Lozovaya, Novobogdanovka, Novoalexandrovka and Chuvakovka.

On top of this, a Tochka-U tactical missile was shot down near Donetskoe settlement.

Russia says that since the start of operation its forces have destroyed 140 aircraft and 106 helicopters, 511 unmanned aerial vehicles, 254 anti-aircraft missile systems, 2,410 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 262 multiple launch rocket systems, 1,046 field artillery and mortars, as well as 2,259 units of special military vehicles of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Via https://southfront.org/russian-defense-minister-says-mariupol-is-liberated-azov-members-remain-surrounded-in-industrial-area/