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Mop up operations are still ongoing in the city of Mariupol. The Russian military and the armed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) continue to corner the remaining troops of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) and the Azov nationalists in the key port city.
As of April 7, out of 14 000 soldiers of the AFU, including servicemen of the Azov regiment, besieged in Mariupol a month ago, around three thousand are still fighting. The center of the city and almost all administrative buildings have come under the control of Russian and DPR troops.
AFU units and Azov fighters are divided into three groups, which are besieged at the Azovstal, the Ilyich plant, and the seaport area.
Assault units of the DPR People’s Militia and the Armed Forces of Russia, including Chechen soldiers of the regiment named after the Hero of Russia Akhmat-Hadji Kadyrov, have already entered the territory of Azovstal.
The assault on the plant began from the northern direction, under close artillery fire and airstrikes from the Russian Aerospace forces, but the advance faces fierce resistance from Azov fighters.
The artillery of the Russian military and the DPR pounded the remnants of the AFU and Azov in the port of Mariupol. According to the DPR, the besieged nationalists burned a number of ships in the port, including the Donbass command ship of the Ukrainian Navy.
According to unconfirmed reports by Russian military commanders on the ground and several sources, NATO officers, including high-ranking commanders of the US and European Armies may be blocked in Mariupol. The reports about NATO commanders taking shelter with Azov militants in Mariupol may explain why NATO member states especially France and Turkey insist on carrying out a humanitarian mission in Mariupol, but only with the participation of their military.
On the other fronts in the Donbass, heavy fighting continues. The Russian military and the armed forces of the DPR and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) continue to push forward in the region of Izyum despite fierce resistance from the AFU, nationalist units and foreign mercenaries. Joint forces are moving towards Barvenkovo and Slavyansk.
At the same time, joint Russian-DPR forces continue to advance west of Donetsk city. The village of Sladkoe came under their control on April 7.
Developing the offensive, the grouping of the Russian Armed Forces completely blockaded the village of Novomikhailovka and began to mop up the nationalists inside.
In pursuit of the retreating units of the 54th Mechanised Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Russian units have also blockaded the city of Ugledar and are now fighting on its outskirts.
Meanwhile, the Russian military continued its missile strikes on military targets in different parts of Ukraine.
On April 6 and 7, air- and sea-launched missiles destroyed four fuel storage bases near Nikolaev, Zaporozhye, Kharkov and Chuguev from which Ukrainian forces were supplied with fuel near Kharkov, Nikolaev and Donbass.
A strike with air-launched missiles also hit a cluster of Ukrainian military equipment at the Novograd-Volynsky railway station in the Zhytomyr region. As a result of the strike, equipment prepared for deployment to the Donbass was destroyed.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, on April 7, Russian air-defense systems shot down two Ukrainian military helicopters in the air, a Mi-8 and a Mi-24, near the city of Kherson. Also destroyed were six drones near Novoselovka II, Chervonaya, Novogradovka, Ilovaisk, Khartsizsk and three other drones, including two Bayraktar TB-2s, over the settlements of Krivoy Rog and Trudovoi.
According to the most recent briefing by the Russian Ministry of Defense, 125 Ukrainian warplanes, 95 helicopters, 416 unmanned aerial vehicles, 227 anti-aircraft missile systems, 2,003 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 220 multiple launch rocket systems, 869 field artillery and mortars, as well as 1,902 units of special military vehicles have been destroyed since the beginning of the Russian special military operation.
The city of Mariupol will likely remain the hottest front for the next few days. The Russian military and the armed forces of the DPR and LPR will not likely develop their offensive on the other fronts in Donbass before Mariupol is fully secured.