‘We’re basically dead men’: Mariupol’s last defenders await death or rescue
Last holdouts of Ukrainian defence are now at a steel plant, where the troops refuse to surrender to Russian forces
If Russia’s President Vladimir Putin hoped to mark Victory Day on Monday by celebrating the capture or surrender of Mariupol’s last Ukrainian defenders, a Zoom appearance by their commanders revealed he he was going to be disappointed.
Speaking in a lengthy online press conference on Sunday, an intelligence officer of the Azov regiment holed up in the southeastern port city’s huge Azovstal steel factory said surrender would amount to suicide. He said the troops had enough food and weapons to hold out a while yet.
Describing their increasingly grim, and likely ultimately hopeless, circumstances, Illia Samoilenko also made clear his bitterness with the Ukrainian government in Kyiv. It had, he said, failed in its defence of southern Ukraine, where Russia made much faster progress than in the north, and had abandoned Mariupol’s garrison to its fate...