Ukraine’s intel suggests Putin lied about abandoning assault on Azovstal in Mariupol

22 April, 06:56 PM
Azovstal, April 18 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Azovstal, April 18 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Russia has not given up on storming the Azovstal steelworks in the city of Mariupol, as well as plans to involve the Rosgvardia national guard and the FSB intelligence agency for a further offensive, said Ukrainian Defense Intelligence rep Vadym Skibitsky during a TV interview, media reported on April 22.

According to him, the Russian leadership lies as a matter of course, which is further testified by Vladimir Putin's order to abandon the massive as-sault on the Azovstal plant.

At the same time, Skibitsky stressed that while regular Russian troops may indeed not commit to a large-scale offensive, Russia still plans to involve Russian National Guard troops and the FSB on an attack on Azovstalin the strategic Donbas city.

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"According to our data, they plan to involve the Rosgvardia, and other structures, including the FSB, which will continue to attack the plant to suppress our resistance," Skibitsky said.

Earlier, on April 18, the Mariupol City Council announced that the Russian invaders were attacking Azovstal with heavy artillery. Soldiers from Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, have resisted all calls to surrender, say the plant is virtually destroyed. A network of tunnels winds under the facility, sheltering at least 1,000 civilians — women with children, the elderly and families of Ukrainian servicemen.

Earlier, Russia refused to provide a humanitarian corridor for citizens to leave Mariupol. On April 20, Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk Oblast State Administration, said that an "evacuation corridor" was partially operational, but the evacuees had not yet reached the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk also confirmed on April 21 that the humanitarian corridor from the port city did not go ahead as planned.

Mariupol has been encircled by the Russians since March 1, and 95% of the buildings have been destroyed by Russian shelling. There is no water supply, electricity, heating or communications in the city. Up to 22,000 civilians have died as a result of Russian actions.

On April 21, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin ordered his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to abandon a planned assault on an industrial zone near the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, calling it inexpedient. Putin's order came five days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that the destruction of Ukrainian defenders in the city would put an end to talks with Russia.

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