Mariupol Is ‘Almost Wiped Out,’ Top Zelenskyy Advisor Says
- Mariupol is “almost wiped out” after weeks of destruction and combat, a top Zelenskyy advisor said.
- Russian forces asserted they have taken control of the city but Ukrainian leaders denied the claim.
- russian forces stormed a Mariupol steel plant on Saturday where Ukrainian forces and civilians are sheltering, officials said.
The Ukrainian city of Mariupol is “almost wiped out” and desperately needs a humanitarian corridor, one of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s top advisors said.
Igor Zhovkva, deputy head of the Office of President Zelenskyy, 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 Russian authorities to open the humanitarian corridors for civilians, including for civilians who are living in the city of Mariupol because more than 100,000 civilians are still left in the city,” Zhovkva said. “The city is almost wiped out. People are living without elementary conditions, without food, without water supply, without electricity.”
On Saturday, Russian forces tried to storm to Mariupol steel plant where an estimated 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 Donbas region. The US and other Western countries are providing additional, heavier weaponry to Ukraine — arming the country for what may be months of intense clashes in the region’s flatter, more open terrain, Insider’s Christopher Woody reported.
As the fighting continues, Zhovkva on Sunday repeated the nation’s request for more weaponry, including anti-missile systems and anti-aircraft systems because “daily and nightly Ukrainian cities are bombarded by the cruise missiles.”
“We definitely need some more weapons in terms of defending the sky 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 in order to defend ourselves on the ground, in order to unblock such cities as Mariupol, in order to withstand the potential offensive of Russian armed forces in the Donbas .”
Russian forces have claimed that they have taken over control of Mariupol while Ukrainian forces continue to fight back from within the city and launch attacks from the steel plant, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“We know that Russia has said that it now controls Mariupol, a key port city. Ukrainian officials have pushed back against that. They say that’s not the case,” NBC’s Welker said while speaking with Zhovkva. “Does Russia now have enough control of Mariupol that it controls it?”
“No, that’s false,” Zhovkva replied. “Russia does not control the whole city of Mariupol, though it controls some part of the city of Mariupol. Ukrainian armed forces are still in town. They are concentrating now on the Azovstal steel plant, and they are concentrated there together with the civilians and many of the Ukrainian soldiers are wounded.”
He added that Russian forces have declined to establish a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians. Multiple attempts at such corridors have failed.
“My president suggested several times to have humanitarian corridors in order to evacuate the civilians which are left on the Azovstal steel plant and the wounded soldiers. He proposed to exchange them for the Russian wounded soldiers which are in the possession of Ukraine. No reaction, Zhovkva said.