Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly announced he has gained full control of Ukraine's Mariupol following a new onslaught of extensive missile attacks on Wednesday.
This was highlighted in an ABC News interview with former CIA operative Darrel Blocker. The announcement comes after Putin released an intensive assault on the Azovstal steelworks plant as shown by footage released by pro-Russian separatists. The footage shows vacuum bombs consecutively fired on the plant.
Vladimir Putin's All-Out Attack On Mariupol
Mariupol's Mayor said more than 200 civilians including 30 children continue to shelter from the Russian military in the plant. The first phase of the humanitarian corridor allowed by Putin through the United Nations ended on the same day. Putin said he will allow another safe passage for the evacuation of civilians for three days beginning Thursday.
On the other hand, footage from the Ukrainian commander of the Azovstal steel plant was similarly released on Wednesday confirming the new deadly attacks. The commander revealed thousands of soldiers in the plant have been fighting strenuously after Russian forces entered from the tunnels underneath it, BBC News said. The all-out assault on the plant is in line with Russia's goal to crush the final hold of Ukraine on the southern seaport city.
"We've been holding a circular defense at the Azovstal plant. It's the second day the enemy broke into the plant. There are heavy bloody battles. I am proud of my soldiers who making superhuman efforts to restrain the enemy's onslaught. The situation is very difficult but no matter what, we continue to meet the order to hold the defense," the commander said in the video.
"I am grateful to the whole world for the colossal support to the garrison of Mariupol," the commander said in the video," he added.
Sky News reported that the conditions inside the steelworks plant are totally horrendous and getting worse as new aerial bombardments and heavy shelling take place. The media outlet highlighted the extreme humanitarian conditions in the plant that involve Ukrainian soldiers lacking medical attention and treatment from the battle. The media outlet stressed that satellite footage shows the vast devastation created by the Russian soldiers on the steel plant.
Vladimir Putin's Upcoming Announcement
U.S. Defense officials, as per CNBC Television, announced that Russian forces have by now begun to withdraw from Mariupol as an indication of accomplishing their goal of subjecting it to their full control. The US Officials said Putin is expected to make special announcements on Monday, May 9, in line with Russia's Victory Day. There are also a lot of speculations that Russia will hold a street parade in Mariupol to signify their victory. Though other officials fear Putin may use the upcoming occasion to make another kind of announcement that could make the situation in Ukraine worse.
As previously reported, 127 Ukrainians were safely evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant as of Monday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The evacuation is the first phase granted by Putin after several previous requests of it by the UN have failed.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video report on Wednesday that the total number of people evacuated for the said operation was 344. The evacuees were successfully transported to Zaporizka, where a team of Ukrainian officials will meet them and provide the necessary support from the government.
Many of the evacuees, who arrived in buses at Zaporizka, disclosed the trauma they underwent while in Azovstal. They recounted to Sky News Correspondent Alex Rossi that they were able to put up with the shelling but could not stand the big bunker busters, which made the walls cave in. The evacuees expressed surprise that their stories "captured the world's attention but every single one of them absolutely are relieved to be out of there."
Besides Mariupol, the Russian brutal bombardment continues in Dnipro and Lviv. Russia is said to be hitting critical supply and resupply areas in Ukraine amidst NATO Allies including the United States providing a continuous supply of weaponry into Ukraine through the Slovakian and Polish borders.