Although the Russian beginning was strong and indeed took over parts of it, it faced great steadfastness by the Ukrainian army and some military battalions that know the tactics of the Russians, and thus were resistant to the Red Army until today.
Two weeks after its siege, the Russian Defense Ministry announced, on Sunday evening, that Ukraine was given a period of hours to respond to the request to hand over the coastal city, but the response came quickly by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk, that “giving up the city of Mariupol and laying down arms is unreasonable.” incoming.”
The city has been living in tragic conditions in the absence of food, medicine, and electricity or fresh water cuts since the early days of the war that erupted on February 24, and Ukrainian officials in the city said that batches of bombs fall on the city every 10 minutes, while Moscow denies targeting civilians, blaming it on “Ukrainian nationalists” in the situation in Mariupol.
3 Russian reasons
Commenting on this, Irina Zuckerman, an American expert in strategic affairs, said that the city of Mariupol is strategically important because it is a possible connection to the land bridge that Russia plans to have to the Crimea, which will allow the easy transfer of fighters, supplies and weapons between the two sites.
“Secondly, the seizure of Mariupol will allow Russia to cut off all the Black Sea ports used by Ukraine. This means that Ukraine loses access to grain, which is one of the global suppliers of humanitarian aid and arms shipments, which is Essentially besieged, and third, Russia also aims for access to water, a key idea in its strategy since World War I, considering that Turkey has prevented Russian warships from entering Bosworth, which is putting pressure on Russian forces in Syria.
“Withdrawing forces to Ukraine, this is necessary for Russia to maintain naval supremacy, Ukraine has also succeeded in destroying its ships in the region, so taking control of the ports would also be a defensive measure.”
What is the secret of endurance?
About the secret of Mariupol’s resilience, Zuckerman said, “Part of this is due to the successful presence of the Azov Brigade, known for its reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance skills that Russia lacks.”
“Another reason is the memory of the brutal attacks by Russian-backed separatists in 2014 and the spirit of strong resistance in general against occupation, which returned to the Soviet Union, when Stalin tried to starve the patriotic resistance in Ukraine,” she said.
She explained, “The Ukrainians considered Russia’s proposal to extradite Mariupol an insult and an invitation to slavery, especially given that Russia is not doing well militarily, politically or economically. Moreover, Russia’s brutality against civilians gave more thought to continue the fight. If they surrender, it will lead to the frustration of other cities, and it would be seen as a betrayal of all who died as a result of Russian bombing. Ukrainians see in Russian occupation no viable alternative to death, and seem willing to fight to the end.”
Mariupol, the second largest city of Donetsk, which Russia recognized its independence last February, and Luhansk, derives its strategic importance from its geographical location, as it is the largest port on the Sea of Azov connected to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait.
The population of Mariupol is close to half a million people, and it has a large proportion of Russians, along with Ukrainians, Greeks, Belarusians, Armenians, Jews and others.
After the 2014 events that toppled the regime of Viktor Yanukovych, Mariupol turned into one of the arenas of confrontation between the new Ukrainian authorities and their opponents. In April 2014, the city became part of the breakaway republic of Donetsk (the self-proclaimed), before it was retaken by the Ukrainian authorities in June of the same year as a result of an offensive operation by the regular army forces and members of the “Azov” battalion formed of Ukrainian nationalists.
Since that time, Maripol has become an important military and political center for the Ukrainian authorities on the line of contact between the two sides of the armed conflict in Donbas. Mariupol “temporarily” hosted the administration of Ukraine’s Donetsk Province, as its center (Donetsk) remained under the control of separatists.
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