Putin Ally Kadyrov says Russia will take Mariupol plant on Thursday

  • Putin’s ally Ramzan Kadyrov said on Wednesday that Russia would take the Mariupol steel plant on Thursday.
  • Ukrainian troops and civilians are hiding in the factory, with Russia claiming it now controls the city of Mariupol.
  • Putin on Thursday ordered Russian troops to blockade the Azovstal steel plant instead of storming it.

Chechen warlord and Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov said Thursday that Russian forces would take the Mariupol steel plant, currently occupied by thousands of Ukrainian troops.

“Tomorrow, or, in fact, today, before or after lunch, Azovstal will have full control of the Russian forces. Everything is ready: the strategy, the warriors,” he wrote on his Telegram channel on Wednesday evening. .

During a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 2,000 Ukrainian troops were currently stationed at the Azovstal steel plant, with the Mariupol city council saying 1,000 civilians were also inside.

Shoigu also told Putin that apart from Azovstal, Russia has full control of the city of Mariupol.

Despite Kadyrov’s claim, Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said Thursday that Ukrainian forces were still occupying the plant.

On Thursday morning, Putin called off a planned assault on the steel mill and instead ordered Russian troops to begin a sustained blockade “so that not even a fly would pass through”.

Arestovich said it was clear Putin changed the plan because he knew his forces could not take over the factory.

“They physically can’t take Azovstal, they understood that, they suffered huge losses there. Our defenders are still holding it,” Arestovich said, according to Reuters.

At the time of this article’s publication, there is no evidence to suggest that Ukrainian forces are not yet located inside Azovstal.

In a Telegram post on Thursday, Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s reintegration minister, called for the creation of an emergency humanitarian corridor from Azovstal, saying 1,000 civilians and 500 wounded soldiers were trapped there and needed help.

Russia has in recent weeks refocused its attacks in Ukraine to focus on the Donbass region in the east of the country.

Since 2014, Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, collectively known as Donbas, have been controlled by pro-Kremlin factions. Writing on Telegram, Kadyrov said Russia was releasing people in the region.

“For the West and Europe, this is bad news, but for normal people who want to live in peace, this is really very good news. he wrote.

“So I’m telling you, and you didn’t believe me. You should have gone earlier.”

The Russian government has also presented the new assault on Donbass, which began this week, as a liberation mission for those living there.

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