If Azov batallion and the numerous assorted international mercenaries are removed from Mariupol, the Russian military campaign will have succeeded for the most part in it’s goal. Which was not to take Kiev. The fighting will continue at least for a short time after Mariupol falls. Zelensky led Ukraine will have forfeited their bargaining power with Russia. Is Zelensky aware of this? Will facing this reality force Ukraine to make desperate moves and target more civilians then they already have? Or will they do what should have been done back when Zelensky came to power?
Zelensky made some telling statements in a recent AP interview featured by the Globe and Mail
“No one wants to negotiate with a person or people who tortured this nation. It’s all understandable. And as a man, as a father, I understand this very well,” Zelensky said. But “we don’t want to lose opportunities, if we have them, for a diplomatic solution.”
“We have to fight, but fight for life. You can’t fight for dust when there is nothing and no people. That’s why it is important to stop this war,” Zelensky said.
The president said those defenders ( Ukranazis and foreign mercenaries) are tying up “a big part of the enemy forces,” characterizing the battle to hold Mariupol as “the heart of the war” right now.
“It’s beating. We’re fighting. We’re strong. And if it stops beating, we will be in a weaker position,” he said.
Zelensky said he is confident Ukrainians would accept peace despite the horrors they have witnessed in the more than six-week-long war.
There are reports that Ukraine has been trying to evacuate Mariupol:
On the night of April 8, the Kiev regime made a new attempt to evacuate the leaders of the Ukrainian nationalists by sea from Mariupol, the official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov, denounced to journalists.
“The Kiev regime keeps trying to evacuate the leaders of the nationalist Azov regiment and foreign mercenaries from Mariupol,” he pointed out.
“Earlier actions to airlift them out by helicopters failed. On the night of April 8, the Kiev regime made a new unsuccessful attempt to evacuate the leaders of the Ukrainian Nazis by sea,” remarked Konashenkov.
According to the official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian cargo ship “Apache” under the Maltese flag followed at night in a caravan of ships from Taganrog Bay to the Kerch Strait.
At 22H38 Moscow time, 30 kilometers off Mariupol, it abruptly changed course and attempted to break into the seaport of Mariupol, which is blockaded by the Black Sea Fleet.
The cargo ship continued to move without responding to demands by Russian border guards to make contact through the international channel.
Warning artillery shots, fired by two border patrol boats along the vessel’s course, did not cause a change of course or a slowdown in the cargo ship’s speed, he said.
“While heading to the port, the ship was conducting a radio exchange, transmitting messages, ‘I’m a maniac, I’m coming to you,'” Konashenkov said, adding that signals of fire were seen on the coast.
The cargo ship then diverted course and the crew contacted the border guards, asking them to cease fire and stating that they were ready to comply with the requirements. “As a result of the impact of the fire, there are no injuries among the ship’s crew members.
The ship’s crew extinguished the fire on their own. After the inspection, the Ukrainian cargo ship Apache with the crew is escorted to the port of Yeysk,” Konashenkov concluded.
Russian and DPR troops have rescued some 47 sailors from civilian ships blocked in the Port of Mariupol
“Military personnel of Russia’s Armed Forces and the DPR have de-blockaded 47 crew members from Russia, Azerbaijan, Egypt and Ukraine, who were holed up on board of the ships,” the DPR said in a statement.
The civilian vessels were stranded in the Mariupol port amid the ongoing conflict, as the waterway had been heavily mined by Ukrainian “nationalists,” who used the ships and crews as shields, the DPR noted.
The city of Mariupol has seen intense fighting between Ukrainian and DPR forces, which are backed by the Russian military, over the past few weeks. Mariupol, which is claimed by the breakaway Donetsk republic as an integral part of its territory, has been largely captured by DPR-allied forces, yet Ukrainian fighters remain in several strongholds throughout the city.
We’ve talked about the mining of the Azov and the Black Seas previously. Let’s read the latest?
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has reportedly raised the possibility that mines discovered off his country’s coast were purposely deployed in the Black Sea as a pretext for sending NATO minesweepers to the region amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“We have doubts as to whether the mines were left intentionally,” the defense minister told members of Turkey’s Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK) in a meeting last week, the Hurriyet Daily News reported on Sunday. “Maybe these mines were left within a plan for NATO minesweepers to enter the Black Sea.”
“We do not know who left the mines in the Black Sea,” Akar said. “They are Russian-made, but the issue of which country left it is under investigation. There are reports that there are around 400 mines. We talked to the Bulgarian and Romanian authorities. They also carry out monitoring.”
Another concern is the way that the mines were deployed. Akar said such explosives are normally designed to lock themselves when they break free from the cables that hold them in position, but that wasn’t the case with the mines that have been found in recent weeks. “So it could have been left like that on purpose,” he added. “We are investigating.”