MARIUPOL, Ukraine / BRUSSELS — The situation in the besieged city of Mariupol remains dire, with most of the city seemingly under the control of Russian forces. Ukrainian forces, however, are holding out in the besieged stronghold of the massive Azovstal Iron and Steel Works. The U.N. has called for a halt to the fighting as Western countries continue to support the Ukrainian Army with weapons and equipment and impose sanctions on Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russian forces have taken the entirety of Mariupol but has called off plans to storm Azovstal amid excessive Russian losses. Russia has been accused of recruiting and training Ethiopian, Libyan, and Syrian mercenaries to bolster its ranks, though hard evidence corroborating the claims has yet to materialize. Ukrainian fighters have thoroughly entrenched themselves in the facility and refused to surrender despite a deadline issued by Russia.
Russia faces charges of bombing the factory and killing civilians inside, as it was agreed to open a humanitarian crossing to evacuate some of the civilians trapped in the besieged city.
Those developments led U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to renew his call for a cessation of hostilities and to open more corridors to alleviate the suffering of civilians.
As Ukrainian resistance across the country continues, European nations are increasing their military support for the country.
Concerning Russia’s new offensive in the east to capture the Donbas region, Britain said Russia was trying to break Ukraine’s defenses and was preparing for an intense offensive in the days ahead.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany Andrei Melnik criticized Berlin for its lack of military assistance to his country, while calling on countries around the world to supply more military assistance to repel the Russian invasion.
Norway announced the dispatch of about 100 air defense missiles to Ukraine, saying the shipment was already on its way.
The Netherlands stated on Wednesday they were transferring armored personnel carriers to Ukraine and would provide modern PzH 2000 self-propelled heavy artillery. Ukrainian crews will be trained on the system in Germany.