Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Congratulates President of Federal Republic of Germany on Unity Day    Saudi Arabia to Host 25th World Petroleum Congress in 2026    Tadawul All Share Index Decreases by 0.79%, Equity Market Capitalization Reaches SAR 10,832.85 Billion at End of 1st Nine Months 2022    Asian Shares Mostly Lower    Weather Forecast for Monday    KSrelief Concludes the 11th, 12th Volunteer Program in Zaatari Camp for Syrian Refugees in Jordan    Saudi Arabia, UK explore increased trade, investment opportunities Keaveny arrives in Riyadh in first visit as Lord Mayor of London    King Salman receives written message from Azerbaijan president    Prince Abdulaziz Al-Faisal to Head Saudi Delegation to Olympic Council of Asia Meetings in Cambodia    Recycling by 2035 will contribute to an annual income of SR120 billion    18 new benefit added to health insurance policy    Dr. Khalid Al-Sabti, a techy savvy leader, taking ETEC to new heights KAUST workshop on 'Basics of AI' begins at ETEC    Global philosophers to discuss science and philosophy in 2nd Riyadh Conference in December    King, Crown Prince congratulate Guinea president on Independence Day    Jail, fine for citizens involved in forging official documents of a Saudi embassy    Al-Manea: Selling gold in installments is not permissible    Saudi Stock Exchange Main Index Ends Trading Higher at 11,487 Points    MAWANI, Tabadul Sign MoU to Develop New Saudi Ports Management Systems    Saudi Arabia to Host 14th General Assembly Meeting of ARABOSAI    174 dead in Indonesian football stadium crush    Brazil polarized as Bolsonaro seeks re-election and Lula aims for comeback    Vehicle Overturn Kills 26, Injures 10 in India    At Least 127 People Killed, 180 Injured at Football Match in Indonesia    King Charles will not attend COP27, says Palace    Morocco's King congratulates Mohammed bin Salman on becoming Saudi PM    UN chief condemns any attempt to seize power by the force of arms    Saudi Arabia gets four memberships in IOC commissions    Al-Khuwaitm turns in golden display in Girls Gymnastics Championship in Riyadh    15 cups of Saudi coffee in a day are enough!    Riyadh hosts first Saudi Games on Oct. 27    19 women, 2 men qualify as Kingdom's first yogasana referees    Movies return to Kashmir with Hrithik Roshan-starrer    Body of famed US climber found on Mt Manaslu in Himalayas    Yoga introduced to Saudi universities    Islamic Minister Al-Sheikh: Juristic judgment catalyst to salvage Islamic Ummah    Culinary Arts Commission Registers 13 Foods on Slow Food List of Endangered Food    72% of Children Globally have been Victims of Cyber Threats    Saudi National Football Team Continues Preparations for Friendly Match against Ecuador    Saudi Futsal Team Beats San Marino, Wins Silver in Croatian International Championship    During 2nd Global AI Summit.. AI-powered Early Breast Cancer Detection Program Launched    Triple talaq: India Muslim women in limbo after instant divorce ruling    Film Commission Reviews Film Industry Prospects in Saudi Arabia at Venice International Film Festival    Saudi national volleyball team loses to Kyrgyzstan in Asian Challenge Cup final    Saudi national volleyball team beats Uzbekistan, qualifies for the final of the Asian Challenge Cup    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Delivers Speech to Pilgrims, Citizens, Residents and Muslims around the World    Sheikh Al-Issa in Arafah's Sermon: Allaah Blessed You by Making It Easy for You to Carry out This Obligation. Thus, Ensure Following the Guidance of Your Prophet    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques addresses citizens and all Muslims on the occasion of the Holy month of Ramadan    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



Mariupol: The critical fight for city at 'heart of this war'
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 13 - 04 - 2022

There are growing signs Russia could be on the brink of fully capturing Mariupol, the besieged southern port city which has suffered a devastating, six-week assault.
Officially, Ukraine's armed forces say they are sustaining its defense and are in "continuous contact" with their troops on the ground. But they concede it is likely Moscow will try to take full control of the city, while a regional Russian-backed separatist leader claims Mariupol is close to falling.
Ukrainian troops have said they are running out of ammunition, and are believed to have been pushed back into two isolated pockets adjoining the coastline.
The city's fate is likely to be critical for the next phase of the war. In Russian hands it would provide control of a clear swathe of territory connecting Moscow's two fronts in the south and east. It would release large numbers of forces to redeploy, and provide President Vladimir Putin with a moment of strategic "victory" after a lethally shambolic first stage to his invasion.
It would mark a huge loss, if by now an expected one, for Ukraine's leadership which has described Mariupol as "the heart of this war today".
Russian troops started their encirclement of Mariupol in early March. The siege has killed thousands of civilians and unleashed an appalling struggle for survival for trapped residents who remain.
Thousands of people have escaped further north, risking a deadly journey through the front line. Here, in Zaporizhzhia, BBC watched civilians arrive day after day, describing how they have witnessed the obliteration of their city.
In recent days Russian forces are thought to have pushed in further by dividing the remaining holdout of Mariupol's defenders, according to think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
It's believed Ukraine's forces have been forced back to the port area and the Azovstal plant, a massive iron and steel works from where they had launched counter-attacks for weeks.
Videos have emerged of fighters apparently from the 36th marine brigade vowing not to surrender their positions.
"We are holding on to every bit of the city wherever possible," says one in a video posted to social media channels on Tuesday.
"But the reality is the city is encircled and blocked and there was no re-supply of ammunition or food," he adds. Part of the footage shows him alongside several other marines in a room that looks like a basement shelter. One of the men has crutches leaning against his chair.
A post on Monday on the brigade's Facebook page described the situation as "the last battle... It is death for some of us, and captivity for the rest," it said, adding they had been "pushed back" and "surrounded" by Russian troops.
Ukrainian analysts differed over whether the post could be relied on as genuine, with some claiming the page had been hacked. But more than 36 hours later the post remained on the site.
The siege and a resulting collapse in communications in Mariupol mean it is difficult to independently verify reports about changes on the ground.
There is little doubt Ukrainian forces have been desperate for new supplies of weapons, ammunition, food and water.
Ukraine's military reportedly managed over the weeks to resupply troops with kit including night and thermal vision goggles, portable battery charging packs and even anti-tank munitions; but it became increasingly hard.
"Ultimately, the city was surrounded so soon into the invasion that there was never a chance to build up supplies," says Justin Bronk, a senior research fellow at defense think tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
"They've already held out far, far longer than any external analysis would have predicted possible. So it's difficult to say how much longer they can go on," he says, adding that they have "achieved extraordinary results with very little".
Ukrainian attempts to rotate forces or evacuate the wounded also became much more high risk as Russia tightened its siege.
The Russian defense ministry claimed two weeks ago it had shot down a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter 5km (three miles) from the Sea of Azov shore. It was thought to have been coming out of the city.
On Tuesday, it claimed up to 100 Ukrainian troops had tried to fight their way out of the steel works plant - but said half were killed by Russian artillery and airstrikes, and more than 40 surrendered.
In his video address to the nation late on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: "The future of Ukraine directly depends on the strength of our resistance in all its forms. The future of us all, each of our cities, each of our villages.
"And I am grateful to everyone who understands this. Who does not stop resisting even when it seems that the result is very far. Because the darkest time is always before dawn.
"I want to separately address those heroes who are having a very hard time. Those who defend Mariupol. A marine battalion of the 36th marine brigade, Azov special operations detachment, 12th operational brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine. Subdivisions of the State Border Guard Service. Volunteers of the "Right Sector". The 555th military hospital and National Police employees."
As well as the marines, the defense of Mariupol also consists of the Azov battalion, an ultranationalist militia formed in 2014 which Kyiv says has been reformed and is now part of Ukraine's National Guard.
They are only a tiny part of Ukraine's overall forces, but their presence has been a key focus of Moscow's propaganda war: it refers to the invasion as a "special military operation" claiming it is to "demilitarise" and "denazify" Ukraine.
Meanwhile, reports by local forces that Russia deployed chemical weapons in Mariupol this week have yet to be confirmed. They are a reminder of how the conflict could quickly trigger a further dangerous escalation.
The full capture of the city could see significant numbers of Russian troops, so far used to contain and prevent resupply in Mariupol, reconstituted and moved elsewhere, particularly in other parts of the eastern Donbas region, where Moscow is gearing up for a major offensive.
It could also see Moscow consolidate its progress north of Mariupol, which is one of the reasons the Ukrainians were finding it so hard to relieve the city, according to Bronk.
The forces could also be used to bolster Russian-occupied Kherson, where Ukrainian troops have been attempting to retake ground with some success.
President Zelensky continued his metaphor that Mariupol is the heart of the war. "If it stops beating then we will be... weaker," he said. — BBC


Clic here to read the story from its source.