[STOP PUTIN] BBC: “Russian bombardment and airstrikes across Ukraine”

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Mariupol Ukrainian army “resistance to the end” Zelensky “don’t give up the East”

▲ Members of a pro-Russian militant group hold hands to allow civilians to climb onto tanks in Mariupol, southern Ukraine, on the 17th (local time) as the Russian military and pro-Russian armed groups have almost taken control.
Mariupol Reuters Yonhap News

On the 17th (local time), the Russian army is bombarding Ukraine with bombardment and airstrikes, the British BBC reported as an emergency breaking news by synthesizing the claims of local officials.

Five people were killed and 13 injured in shelling in Kharkiv. Near the southern port city of Odessa, Governor Mikolaiou insisted that rocket attacks continued. BBC reporter Joe Inwood in Dnipro said the air strike sirens were sounding “almost always” in eastern Ukraine.

In the southern city of Mariupol, Ukrainian troops continue to resist after refusing to receive an ultimatum from Russia to surrender, Russian state news agency Rianovosti reported.

Russian and Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) forces are fighting at two steel mills in Mariupol, Azov (Azov) Stahl and Ilyich, Ukrainian militants continue to resist, the news agency said. A commander of the DPR army asserted to the news agency that “they are entering Azovstahl, and Ilyich is effectively under our control.”

Mikhail Mijinchev, commander of the National Defense Management Center, a command center under the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (JCS), said earlier, “Considering the catastrophic situation at the Azovstall Works, from a purely humanitarian point of view, from 6 am Moscow time on the 17th, Ukrainian nationalism began. I suggest that the troops and foreign mercenaries stop hostilities and lay down their weapons.” “He who puts down his arms will be able to live,” he added.

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According to estimates by the Russian military, there are about 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers remaining at the Azoustal Works. The Russian Ministry of Defense sent ultimatums on the 4th and 20th of last month to lay down their weapons and leave Mariupol, but the Ukrainian military refused.

DPR forces in the eastern Donbas region, which declared independence from Ukraine, have been siege to Mariupol together with Russian forces since early March. The city is strategically located between the Donbas region, where the DPR and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) are located, and the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed to Russia in 2014. Administratively, it belongs to the Ukrainian Donetsk Oblast.

When the Russian military takes full control of Mariupol, it is expected that it will enter into a full-scale operation to occupy the Donbas area together with the DPR and LPR forces.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would not give up the Donbas region. In an interview with CNN recorded on the 15th and released on the same day, he said he had no intention of giving up eastern Ukraine territory in order to end the war with Russia, and said he was ready to fight Russian forces in Donbas. He added that there is no guarantee that Russia will not try again to capture the capital Kiiu (Kyiv) if it captures Donbas.

Zelensky said he was “of the same opinion” about US President Joe Biden’s labeling of Russia’s warring action in Ukraine as ‘genocide’. “It’s clearly not a war, it’s a genocide,” he said. He also said that the world should prepare for the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons because Russian President Vladimir Putin does not value the lives of Ukrainians.

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In response to President Biden’s comments on genocide that French President Emmanuel Macron meant to use with caution, he said he wanted the president to come and see the atrocities firsthand.

“It’s a matter for President Biden to decide, but I think he’ll do it,” Zelensky said in response to reports of a high-level U.S. visit to Ukraine being considered. And that’s why he has to come and see it.”

When asked what kind of person he wants to be remembered as, President Zelensky said, “He loved life as much as he could, and loved his family and his country.” “Certainly not a hero. I want the people to accept me as I am. He is an ordinary person.”

Byeong-seon Lim, Executive Director, Peace Research Institute

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