Mariupol is ‘almost wiped out’, says Zelenskyy’s top adviser

  • Mariupol is “almost annihilated” after weeks of destruction and fighting, a senior adviser to Zelenskyy has said.
  • Russian forces claimed to have taken control of the city, but Ukrainian leaders denied this claim.
  • Russian forces on Saturday stormed a steel mill in Mariupol where Ukrainian forces and civilians are sheltering, officials said.

The Ukrainian city of Mariupol is “almost wiped out” and desperately needs a humanitarian corridor, said one of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s top advisers.

Igor Zhovkva, deputy chief of President Zelenskyy’s office, told Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press” on Sunday that hundreds of thousands of civilians are still trapped in the city.

“Today we again turned to the Russian authorities to open the humanitarian corridors to civilians, including civilians who live in the city of Mariupol as more than 100,000 civilians are still in the city,” Zhovkva said. . “The city is almost wiped out. People live without basic conditions, without food, without water supply, without electricity.”

On Saturday, Russian forces attempted to storm a steel plant in Mariupol where around 2,000 Ukrainian troops and 1,000 civilians are sheltering.

Russia began a new phase of its attack on Ukraine last week, focusing on the eastern region of Donbass. The United States and other Western nations are supplying additional and heavier weapons to Ukraine – arming the country for what could be months of intense clashes in the region’s flatter and more open terrain, reports Insider’s Christopher Woody.

As the fighting continues, Zhovkva on Sunday reiterated the nation’s demand for more weapons, including anti-missile systems and anti-aircraft systems, as “Ukrainian cities are bombarded daily and at night by missiles cruising”.

“We definitely need more weapons to defend the skies over Ukraine because NATO countries refuse to close the skies over Ukraine,” Zhovkva said. “We really need armored vehicles. We really need artillery systems and MLRS. We need tanks to defend ourselves in the field, to unlock cities like Mariupol, to resist the potential offensive of forces Russian armies in the Donbass.”

Russian forces claimed to have taken control of Mariupol while Ukrainian forces continue to retaliate from inside the city and launch attacks from the steel mill, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“We know that Russia said they now have control of Mariupol, a key port city. Ukrainian officials pushed back on that. They say that’s not the case,” NBC’s Welker said in an interview with Zhovkva. “Does Russia now have enough control over Mariupol to control it?”

“No, that’s not true,” Zhovkva replied. “Russia does not control the whole city of Mariupol, although it controls part of the city of Mariupol. The Ukrainian armed forces are still in town. They are now concentrating on the Azovstal steel plant, and they are there concentrated with civilians and many Ukrainian soldiers are injured.”

He added that Russian forces have refused to establish a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians. Several attempts at such corridors have failed.

“My president has repeatedly suggested having humanitarian corridors in order to evacuate the civilians who remained on the Azovstal steel plant and the wounded soldiers. He offered to exchange them for the Russian wounded who are in possession of Ukraine. No reaction,” said Jovkva.

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