Ramping up the Pressure

In a desperate effort to break the last remaining holdouts of the Ukrainian forces in Mariupol, Russian-backed separatists are dropping bunker-buster bombs on critical targets. As a result, many civilians are seeking underground shelter in these same areas. They are primarily women and children.

Items left behind at the Illich Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol on April 18, 2022. Image Credit: Alexei Alexandrov/AP

The Azovstal metallurgical plant in Mariupol has a vast network of underground rooms and passages and is home to thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and approximately 1,000 citizens.

Russians are pounding the area with bombs trying desperately to drive them out.

A Deadline Come and Gone

Ukrainian forces were told they had until noon Moscow time (9 am GMT)  Tuesday to lay down their arms if they wanted to live. But, unfortunately, that deadline has come and gone, and all involved must be nervously wondering what happens next.

The Russian Defense Ministry has announced to the holdouts:

“All who lay down their arms are guaranteed to remain alive. Without exception, without any weapons, and without ammunition”.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s Chechnya region and an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Russian forces would completely take over the steelworks before the end of today (Tuesday, April 19th, 2022).

In an audio message on his Telegram channel, he proclaimed: