Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered his forces not to storm the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged city of Mariupol, but rather to block it “so that not even a fly would get through”.
Its defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, has said the rest of the city beyond the sprawling Azovstal steelworks where Ukrainian forces were locked up has been “liberated” – as Russian officials refer to areas of the city. Ukraine they seized. Putin hailed this as a “success”. Shoigu said the steel mill was “locked down safely”.
But leaving the factory in Ukrainian hands deprives the Russians of the chance to declare complete victory in Mariupol, which has seen some of the most dramatic fighting of the war and whose capture has both strategic and symbolic significance.
Putin and Shoigu’s comments appeared to reflect a shift in strategy in Mariupol, where the Russians previously seemed determined to take every inch of the city. But what that would mean in practice was unclear.
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► Addressing the European Council on peace talks with Putin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of not taking the issue seriously, saying Ukraine had not received any documents listing demands for talks of peace.
►In a survey of 27 countries, an Ipsos survey found that 61% of adults think Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses a significant risk to their country. This number was highest in Japan, where 87% of respondents believe the invasion poses a significant threat.
Biden will educate the American public on Russia and Ukraine
US President Joe Biden will give the American public an update on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, days after Russian forces began stepping up attacks on eastern Ukraine, which officials say responsible, marks a new phase of the invasion.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN Wednesday night that Biden “will have more to announce on the next round of security assistance in a very short time,” adding, “You’ll hear more. soon”.
The United States has provided more than $3 billion in military aid to Ukraine, including four flights of American weapons, including howitzers, which arrived in Eastern Europe this week, according to a senior government official. Department of Defense.
U.S. officials also unveiled a new round of sanctions on Tuesday targeting Russian officials and Kremlin-linked organizations. A package announced by the Secretary of State targeted more than 600 people involved in the repression of dissent, the media and democracy in the region. Another announced by the Treasury Department targeted banks and networks used to evade US sanctions.
Biden’s update comes amid an escalation in Russian attacks in Ukraine’s Donbass region, building a 300-mile front and sending four more Russian battalion battlegroups into the country.
Russian forces now control 80% of the Luhansk region, said its governor, which is one of the two regions that make up Donbass. The kyiv government controlled 60% of the region before the Russian invasion on February 24.
UN Secretary-General submits official request to meet with Russia and Ukraine
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has officially submitted letters asking to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, his spokesman said on Wednesday.
António Guterres has openly criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying it violates the UN Charter. He launched an initiative to explore the possibility of a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine at the end of May.
According to his spokesman, António Guterres said he wanted to discuss “urgent steps to bring peace to Ukraine and the future of multilateralism” with the two countries, in what he described as “a time of great dangers and consequences”.
On Tuesday, António Guterres called for a four-day break to begin observing Holy Week in the Orthodox Christian tradition. He said it was even more necessary given the escalation of attacks in eastern Ukraine this week.
– Celina Tebor
Contribute: The Associated Press
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