The last stronghold of the Ukrainian resistance in the city of Mariupol is the Azovstal plant. On April 19, the official representative of the DPR confirmed that the DPR and Russian Special Forces launched an assault on the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.
On April 18, the Russian Ministry of Defence gave Ukrainian nationalists the last chance to surrender. It was claimed that the last humanitarian corridor for evacuation from the Azovstal plant was secured. However, Azov fighters did not leave the facilities and the Russian offensive resumed.
Later on the same day, as soon as assault groups entered the Azovstal and took control over several facilities, Azov fighters declared that “thousands of civilians took shelter in the plant”. The claims were supported by a video allegedly showing children and women in a basement. However, the footage rose suspicions. The video was made in advance and probably not in the Azovstal plant.
Civilians looked calm, not like people who could not leave the basement for almost two months. They said no actual dates during the interviews, so it is not clear when exactly the video was made. They also did not mention the Azovstal or Azov militants in their claims. Thus, the video shared by Ukrainian nationalists is not a clear evidence that “thousands of civilians are taking shelter in the facility”.
Even if civilians are in the basements of the plant, why didn’t the Azov fighters let them go before Azovstal turned into a trap. Humanitarian corridors have been provided by Russian forces for civilians as well as for Ukrainian militants on a regular basis.
What the Kiev regime and Azov nationalists claim to be the protection of civilians in the Azovstal is the official confirmation of their inhumane tactics of using children, women and elderly people as a human shield. This was a case of the whole city of Mariupol, where Azov militants prevented civilians to escape from hostilities through humanitarian corridors. This risk to be a case of the Azovstal plant, where civilians may suffer during the assault.
There are still no credible confirmation that civilians remain in the Azovstal plant, but there is till the risk that there are hostages.
In turn, on April 19, the official representative of the DPR claimed that the information that there are civilians on the territory of the plant is just another creation of Ukrainian propaganda aimed at blaming Russian forces for civilian deaths.
The Russian Ministry of Defense also claimed that “the official representatives of Kiev say about the allegedly large number of civilians on “Azovstal”, what is another information stuffing invented to save the nationalists.”
At the same time, it was added that if someone from the civilian population is on “Azovstal”, the Russian Ministry of Defence demanded to take measures for their release and exit through humanitarian corridors. The Russian Federation guaranteed the safe evacuation of all civilians without exception and their movement in humanitarian convoys in any direction they choose.
“The officials of the Kiev authorities and the perpetrators of the inhumane action on Azovstal are war criminals and terrorists” – the Russian Ministry of Defence added.
Thus, on April 19, the Russian Armed Forces opened another humanitarian corridor for the withdrawal of Ukrainian servicemen who voluntarily laid down their arms and militants of nationalist formations.
Such a decision could be a result of the Russian willingness to avoid humanitarian losses and provide Azov fighters with another chance to let civilians leave the trap. Taking into account the fact that the presence of civilians in the facility was denied, this was likely another step on the political and informational battlefield. At the same time, it is another concession for Ukrainian nationalists. Such soft military tactics are always perceived as weakness by enemy. The Azov fighters received another half-day to prepare for the upcoming battle for the Azovstal fortress.
Russian, DPR tanks suppressed the firing points of the Azov nationalist battalion in residential buildings in Mariupol:
The Illich plant under DPR control:
The head of the National Defense Management Center of the Russian Federation, Colonel-General M.E. Mizintsev, declared that the decision was made “taking into account the catastrophic situation at the Azovstal Metallurgical Plant in the city of Mariupol, as well as guided by purely humane principles”.
From 14:00 Moscow time on April 19, 2022, the Russian Armed Forces opened a humanitarian corridor for the withdrawal of Ukrainian servicemen and militants of nationalist formations who wanted to surrender.
The ceasefire regime was respected, units of the Russian Armed Forces and formations of the Donetsk People’s Republic have been withdrawn to a safe distance along the entire perimeter of Azovstal.
Three humanitarian columns were deployed in the vicinity of the metallurgical plant, in the following directions:
- from the western direction on Shevchenko Street;
- from the eastern direction on Pobedy Avenue;
- from the northern direction on Taganrogskaya Street.
Each humanitarian convoy consisted of 30 buses and cars, ten ambulances with medical and nursing teams. In addition, meeting points and temporary accommodation points have been deployed in all the directions.
The Ukrainian side was informed through the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Ukraine Vereshchuk Irina Andreevna. Azov fighters in Azovstal are also well aware of all Russian initiatives, as they have their own Internet connection in their shelter.
Despite Russia’s best efforts to avoid fighting, not a single person has left the Azovstal plant through the humanitarian corridors. This was confirmed by the head of the administration of the head of the DPR Alexey Nikonorov.
The fact confirmed once again the cruel essence of the Kiev regime and militants of the nationalist formations. Either the Ukrainian Nazis don’t want to let civilians go and are holding them hostage, or there are no civilians at all.
After the expiration of the ceasefire at 16:01, intense shelling on the territory of Azovstal resumed.
As the areas near the Azovstal facilities are secured by the DPR, evacuation of civilians continue. On April 19, more than 120 civilians were reportedly able to get out of the basements of the houses located near the main checkpoint of Azovstal, which is under the DPR control.
The only reason why the Azov fighters do not give up is Kiev’s desire to create new Ukrainian “heroes” (martyrs) and accuses Russia of cruelty. Such a decision by Kiev will have far-reaching political consequences in the international arena, and will also allow, finally, to get rid of the violent armed Ukrainian Nazis who have been outside Kiev’s control for years and posed a threat to the Kiev regime itself.
The soft Russian tactics are aimed at demonstrating the humaneness and strict observance of international law in an attempt to convince the so-called international community. Unfortunately, this damages the Russian troops themselves on the battlefields. Moreover, all of Kiev’s allies have been blind to Russia’s attempts to avoid military action in Ukraine for years, and they do not notice them today in Mariupol, since they have already waged war against Russia on the territory of Ukraine.
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