Ukrainian marines post video from Mariupol amid claims of surrender

The last hold-outs of Mariupol: Ukrainian marines post video from inside besieged city criticising comrades who surrendered and vowing to do ‘whatever it takes’ amid hellish battle for steel plant

  • Marines have teamed up with the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion to defend Mariupol
  • Russia had claimed forces holed up in steel plant had surrendered yesterday
  • British MoD said today Russian troops are still being tied down in the city 

Ukrainian marines who have teamed up with the Azov regiment to defend Mariupol from surrounding Russian forces have vowed to do ‘whatever it takes’ in the defiant battle for the port city.

The Kremlin had claimed that the estimated 1,000 Ukrainians holed up in the giant Azovstal steel works had surrendered yesterday.

But last night, commander of 36th marine brigade Serhii Volyna and commander of the ultranationalist Azov regiment Denys Prokopenko posted a video saying they will never surrender to Putin’s forces. 

If the Russians take the Azovstal industrial district, they would have full control of Mariupol, Ukraine’s main Sea of Azov port, reinforcing a southern land corridor before an expected new offensive in the country’s east. 

Prokopenko said: ‘Yesterday we united with worthy fighters from the Marine battalion, real soldiers, heroes who stayed true to their oath, loyal to the Ukrainian people and who continue to defend the city with us.

Mariupol has been completely destroyed by invading Russians but marines are still fighting in the city’s steel factory

Marines who have teamed up with the Azov regiment to defend Mariupol from surrounding Russian forces have vowed to do ‘whatever it takes’

The Kremlin had claimed that the estimated 1,000 Ukrainians holed up in the giant Azovstal steel works had surrendered yesterday (pictured)

‘These are real men who have chosen the path of war.

‘Don’t make heroes out of deserters and men who surrendered. They chose the path of shame. In no way should these people be heroised.’

The neo-Nazi Azov battalion formed as a volunteer paramilitary militia in 2014 to fight Russians in the Donbas and has been accused of its own war crimes.

But in a last ditch battle to defend Azovstal, the marines joined forces with the far-right fighters.

Volyna said in the video: ‘We conducted a successful operation with the Azov regiment. We joined them and conducted a successful regrouping.

‘We will continue to carry out combat tasks. Our morale is strong. We know what we’re doing and why we’re here.

Commander of 36th marine brigade Serhii Volyna (right) and commander of the ultranationalist Azov regiment Denys Prokopenko (left) posted a video

The neo-Nazi Azov battalion formed as a volunteer paramilitary militia in 2014 to fight Russians in the Donbas and has been accused of its own war crimes

Aerial images show Russian tanks being destroyed by the Azov battalion on the streets of Mariupol

‘We will do whatever it takes to successfully complete our mission.’

This morning, British intelligence sources disputed Russian claims that they had captured the city, saying: ‘Ukraine’s continued defence of Mariupol is currently tying down significant numbers of Russian troops and equipment.’ 

Yesterday, the Kremlin aired footage on state TV purporting to show Ukrainian troops surrendering, handing over the crucial port city to Putin.  

Soldiers emerging from a bunker at a steelworks were seen walking with their hands up while one man helping to carry a comrade on a stretcher could be seen waving a white cloth.

Russia said 1,026 Ukrainian marines holed up in the city’s industrial district had been forced to surrender, including 162 officers, after putting up a last stand. Kyiv dismissed the claim. 

Unverified posts from the Kremlin’s defence ministry added that members of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade had ‘voluntarily laid down arms’. Russia’s defence ministry also claimed last night that it had taken control of Mariupol’s port. 

Pictured: Video appears to show Ukrainian Marines surrendering in the Eastern city of Mariupol. Russia claimed 1,026 Ukrainian marines holed up at Ilyich iron and steelworks in the city’s industrial district had been forced to surrender, including 162 officers

The city has been surrounded for the vast majority of the seven-week invasion and large areas have been reduced to rubble, with images from the city reminiscent of those seen in Allepo, Syria and Grozny, Chechnya – also razed by Russian forces.

Moscow is facing claims that it committed war crimes following the shelling of a maternity hospital and the bombing of a theatre sheltering families which left hundreds dead. The true toll is not yet known.

The city’s mayor has said a total of about 21,000 civilians have been killed during the fighting and seemingly indiscriminate shelling of the city.

However, the Ukrainian resistance, including men who stayed to fight when their families fled, had managed to cling on to control of the city, trying to protect an estimated 100,000 civilians left behind.

As Russian troops closed in and were accused of targeting anyone attempting to leave, one Ukrainian MP compared the situation to the Holocaust. 

Ukraine’s general staff said Russian forces were attacking Azovstal and the port, but a defence ministry spokesman said he had no information about any surrender.

‘Russian forces are increasing their activities on the southern and eastern fronts, attempting to avenge their defeats,’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a Wednesday night video address. 

The city’s mayor Vadym Boychenko insisted that the city was yet to fall, but acknowledged remaining troops were ‘vastly outnumbered’.

‘When they say they’re made of steel, we should know that steel also has its breaking point, but they are holding out and the city of Mariupol remains a Ukrainian city,’ he said.

Boychenko, said Russia had brought in mobile crematoria ‘to get rid of evidence of war crimes’ – a statement that was not possible to verify.

Moscow has blamed Ukraine for civilian deaths and accused Kyiv of denigrating Russian armed forces.

A squad of Russian soldiers load a long belt of cannon shells into one of their armoured vehicles, April 12, 2022

A service member of pro-Russian troops loads rocket into an infantry combat vehicle during fighting in Ukraine-Russia conflict near a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works company in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 12, 2022

Earlier this week the 36th Marine Brigade said it was preparing for a final battle in Mariupol which would likely end in death or capture.

Military experts said the fall of Mariupol appeared to be a matter of ‘hours, not days’.

Zelensky, in a forthright address, did not acknowledge claims about the surrender in Mariupol. 

He instead released a video in English issuing a call for the West to send more ‘heavy weapons’ to prevent an ‘endless bloodbath’.

Denysenko, advisor to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, denied the claim of a surrender in comments to the Current Time TV channel, saying that they haven’t heard anything like that and the battle over the sea port is ongoing.

‘According to official data of (Ukraine’s) Defense Ministry and the General Staff, we haven’t heard anything like that,’ Denysenko said. ‘Moreover, I will say … that the battle over the sea port is still ongoing today.’ 

Ukrainian MP Dmytro Gurin said it was ‘almost impossible’ for any remaining civilians to survive in the city with food and water scarce, amid claims Russian troops were targeting those attempting to escape.

He added that the situation was akin to scenes at Auschwitz during the Second World War and worse than the Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims during the Bosnian War.

Before the war, Mariupol was home to 400,000. Its capture would represent Russia’s biggest success during the invasion so far.   

Ukrainian fighters were putting up a last stand in tunnels under an abandoned Azovstal steel plant (pictured) in Mariupol as Russian forces close in on the besieged port city 

Experts say the fall of Mariupol, seen as strategically vital for Russian plans to attack eastern Ukraine , is inevitable. But holdouts in their underground bases at the steelworks (pictured) hope to make conquering the Sea of Azov port as hard as possible for the attackers 

The Kremlin’s nearly seven-week-long incursion, the biggest attack on a European state since 1945, has not gone to plan.

Russia has been forced to pull back from some northern areas even as attacks across the country have turned Ukrainian cities to rubble and caused more than 4.6 million people to flee abroad.

The Kremlin denounced President Joe Biden’s description of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine as amounting to genocide, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying this was unacceptable coming from the leader of a country he said had committed crimes of its own. The White House said a legal process will be undertaken.

The United States announced on Wednesday an extra $800million in military assistance including artillery systems, armoured personnel carriers and helicopters. This took total U.S. military aid to more than $2.5billion. France and Germany also pledged more.

Russia will view U.S. and NATO vehicles transporting weapons on Ukrainian territory as legitimate military targets, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the TASS news agency.  

An initial report by a mission of experts set up by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe documents a ‘catalogue of inhumanity’ by Russian troops in Ukraine, according to the U.S. ambassador to the OSCE.

‘This includes evidence of direct targeting of civilians, attacks on medical facilities, rape, executions, looting and forced deportation of civilians to Russia,’ Michael Carpenter said.

Russian servicemen (pictured) on Tuesday secured Mariupol’s Drama Theatre which was destroyed in a missile strike on March 16

At least 300 people died when Mariupol’s drama theatre (pictured, Russian servicemen secure the destroyed building) was targeted in a Russian missile strike, despite being marked ‘children’

Russia has denied targeting civilians and has said Ukrainian and Western allegations of war crimes are fabricated.

The Kyiv district police chief said 720 bodies had been found in the region around the capital from where Russian forces had retreated, with more than 200 people missing.

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan said after visiting Bucha, a town where bound bodies of people apparently shot at close range were found, that Ukraine was a ‘crime scene’ and this was within ICC jurisdiction.

‘We have to pierce the fog of war to get to the truth,â Khan said on Twitter.

The mayor of the northeastern city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest, said bombing had increased significantly on Wednesday and satellite photos from Maxar Technologies showed long columns of armoured vehicles in the region.

At least seven people were killed, including a two-year-old boy, and 22 wounded in Kharkiv over the past 24 hours. Ukrainian forces shot down two Russian planes attacking towns in the region, regional Governor Oleh Synehubov said earlier.

Reuters could not immediately verify his statement but filmed people in Kharkiv quietly carrying bodies from an apartment block hit by shelling.

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