Moscow (Times Of Ocean)- Russia’s defense minister Sergey Shoygu confirmed Thursday that its troops had taken control of Mariupol, the besieged Ukrainian port city.
“Mariupol has been liberated by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the forces of the People’s Militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” Sergey Shoygu said at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Shaygu called Mariupol “the capital of the nationalist Azov battalion,” referring to the far-right group fighting in the ranks of Ukraine’s army.
In his words, the city was a fortified area equipped with a large number of heavy weapons and military equipment.”
In response to the Ukrainian forces’ use of human shields, the Russian defense minister announced that “all measures have been taken to save civilian lives,” according to the Russian defense minister.
As Shoygu suggested, the Azovstal plant, the last bastion of Ukrainian troops, should be stormed, while Putin said that it should be besieged.
Over the past several days, Russian forces have besieged Mariupol, trapping thousands of people without food or water.
Even though rights groups have no access to Mariupol, a UN team has found evidence of mass graves there.
“We are getting more information about mass graves there,” UN representative Matilda Bogner said last month, saying some evidence came from satellite images.
In Ukraine, 2224 civilians have died since Russia started its war on Feb. 24, while 2,897 others have been injured, according to UN estimates, with the true death toll likely to be much higher.
The UN refugee agency reports that more than 5 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries, with over 7 million more internally displaced.