The operation to evacuate Ukrainian defenders from the Azovstal factory in Mariupol was the only possible way to rescue them, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, military unlocking is impossible in this situation. There could be no other way to rescue them than what is happening right now. It was the only way out”, pointed out Malyar, adding that “the defenders of Mariupol” fully fulfilled their combat mission.
Due to the conflict in the port city, Russian forces were unable to transfer around 20,000 troops to other regions of Ukraine, which also made it impossible to capture Zaporizhzhia, according to the deputy defense minister.
Mariupol is one of the cities hardest hit by the war, suffering attacks from Russia since the early days of the invasion.
During the period, the impasse between the governments of Russia and Ukraine to open humanitarian corridors intensified the crisis in the region. Thousands of people tried unsuccessfully to leave the city.
The advance of Russian troops led Ukrainian soldiers to hide in the Azovstal steel plant, which has several underground tunnels, protecting the fighters from bombing.
After civilians were evacuated in an operation organized by the United Nations (UN) and the Red Cross, the last Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol remained trapped in the steel mill.
Until this Tuesday (17), the Ukrainian authorities understood that negotiations were “difficult” for the departure of the wounded from Azovstal. Today, the Ukrainian “combat mission” in the city has come to an end.
Source: CNN Brasil