‘Complete liberation’: In biggest victory yet, Russia claims to capture Mariupol

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD:

Pokrovsk, Ukraine: In what would be its biggest victory yet in the war with Ukraine, Russia claimed to have captured Mariupol after a nearly three-month siege that reduced much of the strategic port city to a smoking ruin, with over 20,000 civilians feared dead.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin the “complete liberation” of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol — the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance — and the city as a whole, spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Friday.

There was no immediate confirmation from Ukraine.

Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti quoted the ministry as saying a total of 2439 Ukrainian fighters who had been holed up at the steelworks had surrendered since Monday, including over 500 on Friday.

As they surrendered, the troops were taken prisoner by the Russians, and at least some were taken to a former penal colony. Others were said to be hospitalised.

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