Russia takes full control of Mariupol, except for Azovstal

The Russian army, in cooperation with the people's militia of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), have liberated Mariupol and blocked the remaining groups of Ukrainian nationalists in the industrial zone of the Azovstal plant, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu said in his report to President Vladimir Putin, a message posted on the official website of the Kremlin said.

"This is actually the capital of Azov*, the Azov* battalion,” the minister said.

There were as many as 8,100 fighters of nationalist groups, Ukrainian Armed Forces and foreign mercenaries staying in Mariupol at the time when the Russian forces encircled the city, Shoygu said.

"During the liberation of the city, more than 4,000 were killed, 1,478 surrendered, the remaining group — more than 2,000 — were blocked in the industrial zone of the Azovstal plant,” Shoygu said.

According to the minister, the Russian military and the forces of the DPR have taken the entire city under control, except for the Azovstal industrial zone. Shoygu assured Putin that the militants who refused to lay down their arms had been thoroughly blocked.

"As for those who took shelter at the Azovstal plant and were thoroughly blocked there around the entire perimeter, it will take us about three to four days to complete this work at Azovstal,” Shoygu said.

Despite the opposition of the Ukrainian formations, as many as 142,000 people have been evacuated from Mariupol, the Defence Minister said. At the moment, the situation in Mariupol is calm, which makes it possible to start bringing life in the city back to normal, he said.

Putin cancels operation to storm Azovstal, orders to block it off instead

After listening to the report from the Defence Minister Shoygu, Putin said that he considered the operation to storm the Azovstal industrial zone inappropriate, and ordered to cancel it.

"There is no need to go down to those catacombs and crawl there underground in those industrial facilities. Block off this industrial zone so that not even a fly could go through,” Putin told Shoygu, adding that one should always think about "the life and health of our soldiers and officers."

Putin also congratulated the Russian military on taking control of Mariupol, noting that "this is a success."

The city of Mariupol is located on the coast of the Sea of ​​Azov, on the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic. Since 2014, the region has remained under Kiev's control. The Russian army and People's Militia of the DPR encircled the city on March 11.

*extremist group, banned in Russia

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Author`s name: Editorial Team, Editor: Dmitry Sudakov