Mariupol completely destroyed

This handout picture taken and released by the Donetsk People Republic Ministry of transport on 5 May, 2022 shows municipal workers changed Ukrainian road signs to Russian outside the city of Mariupol. Photo by – / Donetsk People Republic Ministry of transport / AFP

Zelensky says Mariupol is ‘completely destroyed’

Ukrainian President Zelensky, speaking on a video call to the Chatham House think-tank, said Mariupol is completely destroyed and nothing left

Mariupol completely destroyed

This handout picture taken and released by the Donetsk People Republic Ministry of transport on 5 May, 2022 shows municipal workers changed Ukrainian road signs to Russian outside the city of Mariupol. Photo by – / Donetsk People Republic Ministry of transport / AFP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that the southeastern port city of Mariupol has been destroyed completely and there is nothing left to fall to Russians, except for its besieged steelworks.

Zelensky, speaking on a video call to the Chatham House think-tank in London, was asked how the fall of the strategic city could affect the course of the conflict.

“You should understand that Mariupol will never fall. There is nothing there to fall apart. It is already devastated… there is no structure. This is all destroyed completely,”

Zelensky said in comments translated into English from Ukrainian.

What is left is “this little turf, this little structure, the Azovstal steel mill, or what remains of it”,

he added.

LAST POCKET

The Mariupol steelworks are the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance against Russian forces in the port city, where about 200 civilians are estimated to still be trapped in tunnels and bunkers.

Ukrainian troops defending the plant on Friday accused Russian forces of firing during a civilian evacuation, despite a Moscow-imposed ceasefire.

Zelensky said “people are being evacuated as much as we can”.

“If they kill people who can be exchanged as POWs or just released as civilians or be helped as wounded or injured, civilian and military alike, if they destroy them, I don’t think we can have any diplomatic talks with them after that,” he added.

“Speaking in the military sense, they will proceed to the point when we stop them,”

he predicted of Russian troops’ actions after taking control of the city.

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MARIUPOL CIVILIANS ‘TORTURED TO DEATH

He also referred to Russian plans to hold a victory parade in Mariupol on 9 May, a holiday commemorating Soviet victory over Nazis.

“I understand that Russia would like to have a parade for the Victory Day, the ninth of May,”

he said.

The Kremlin denied such a plan on Friday.

Zelensky condemned the Russian military for “torturing to death” civilians in Mariupol, blaming the Kremlin’s propaganda machine for fomenting the hatred that made this possible.

“I think (Nazi chief propagandist Joseph) Goebbels is a child in comparison with the adults in the Kremlin. And this is the scariest thing that we learn from this war,”

he said.

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© Agence France-Presse