Russo-Ukranian War Update: Mariupol Falls


photo courtesy of Business Insider

Nizar Masri, Staff Writer

Entering the third month of the bloodiest conflict in Europe since the Bosnian genocide, Russia has made serious advancements into Ukranian territory. Ukrainian forces held off the Russian siege of Mariupol, a Ukrainian port city, for longer than expected, but the city eventually fell to Russia. Russia is determined to gain control of the region to have a land corridor into Crimea, which was annexed in 2014. The two-month long siege was the location of some of the most brutal human suffering in the war. Like the strike on the city’s largest bomb shelter in a theater on March 16th, it is estimated 600 civilians were killed. We don’t yet know the true magnitude of the violence, but as the days go on and evidence piles on, it only gets worse.  91% of the city was destroyed during the invasion, the remaining soldiers and civilians of Mariupol bunkered down in the Azovstal steel plant. Russian forces bombarded the plant for weeks on end, stranding the survivors.

                 Multiple attempts at negotiating ceasefires and evacuations of civilians were unsuccessful and were botched with mortar shell firing and gunfire from both sides. And it’s unclear currently whether that is the fault of Ukrainian or Russian troops. On May 2nd, the first successful mass evacuations began. Successful only because civilians were able to leave, mortar shell firing continued all through the day. What would normally be a 4-hour drive to the nearest relatively safe Ukranian city turned into a 36-hour grinding journey. Made difficult by terrain littered with ordinances and mines and dozens of Russian checkpoints. Ukrainians could only rejoice so much “On the one hand seeing the sky for the first time, but on the other seeing the destroyed city,” said Osnat Lubrani, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine. (The Washington Post)