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“We will be killed or taken prisoner” – Corriere.it

from Andrea Nicastro

A dramatic appeal on Facebook attributed to the 36th brigade of the Ukrainian marines: “For more than a month, we have been fighting without receiving supplies.” The Ukrainian army: “The links with the defense of the city are solid”


DNIPRO – «Today will be our last day of fighting. The ammunition is running out. ” The Marines of the 36th Bilinsky Brigade entrust their will to Facebook. The resistance of Mariupol – a city in which, according to President Zelensky, there have been “tens of thousands of deaths” – is fading, but not giving in.

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I pro-Russian separatists announce that the port warehouses are in their hands. Three days ago the Russian forces had managed to break the connection between the sea and the large industrial area east of the Kalmius River where what remains of the Ukrainian resistance has taken hold. The port departments, today, would have been defeated. This was claimed by the president of the self proclaimed republic of Donetsk Denis Puchilin.

The message of the Marines, however, is geo-localized by the industrial area, perhaps really the last one left in Ukrainian hands. Even that on the edge of defense capabilitybut thanks to the “five levels of reinforced concrete tunnel – admits a pro-Russian spokesman – still difficult to conquer ».

Together with the Marines they have held up to this day the encirclement of about 15 thousand Russian soldiers also the troops of the Azov Battalion. In all three thousand men, perhaps fewer, certainly decimated by losses. «We have been targeted by aircraft bombs, artillery, tanks and any other firearm. We defended ourselves worthily by doing the impossible », write the marines.

Next to them, in the epic of this battle, the ultra-nationalist special forces of the Azov Brigade they have passed from the reputation of neo-Nazis to that of heroes. Forty-seven days of fighting with superior forces gave their military legend wings. Not only in Ukraine no one dares to associate the name of Azov with the neo-Nazi shadows of so many of its soldiers, but now even abroad the bloodbath has washed their name. It is another of the unforeseen and unwanted effects of the Putinian invasion: to rehabilitate the military formation tainted by the ideology of its members.

In Japan, the Azov Battalion has not only been deleted, complete with apologies, from the list of “international terrorism”, but has been proposed for a mention in the Bushido book, the code of the Samurai. Days ago, Azov had thrown a message on the Net. “We fight at the limit of human capabilities. The wounded are very numerous, but no one escapes the battle. We continue to inflict heavy losses on the enemy. Tanks and armored vehicles continue to fall under our blows. Dozens of enemy soldiers have been killed. We defend the city of Mariupol inch by inch. ”

Today, words from the marines are quite similar, only more desperate. “For more than a month, we fought without receiving supplies, food, water, even drinking from puddles and we died en masse. The wounded are almost half of the ward. Anyone who still has arms and legs shows up on duty. Infantry and riflemen are almost all dead. Now there are gunners, anti-aircraft workers, drivers, cooks and band musicians to shoot. The fate for us all is now death or imprisonment. But let’s fight ».

The story of this month and a half of siege will have to be written with other sources than those of propaganda or self-promotion, sources that cannot come from one side alone. It is evident, however, beyond any doubt, that the fighting was bloody, incessant, in extreme environmental and war conditions. For the soldiers certainly, but, until a few days ago, when the withdrawal forced the Ukrainian forces on the port or in the industrial area, also for civilians. Hundreds of thousands of inhabitants of Mariupol, whom no one, neither the Ukrainian defenders nor the Russian attackers was able or wanted to evacuate from the fighting area.

Both Azov and the marines are more or less covertly controversial with the chain of command that reaches as far as Kiev. “During the whole fighting period we were supplied with 50 caliber 122 rounds, some Nlaw anti-tank, 20 mines plus Elon Musk’s satellite communications system called Starlink. Without ammunition we have no chance to defend ourselves. There was the possibility of bringing supplies. There was also the option of the Brigade maneuvering to rejoin the bulk of the troops. We spoke to the commander in chief who promised to unblock the situation. We talked even further up where they guaranteed us a political and military solution to the stalemate ».

They feel the end is near and, perhaps, in anticipation of this they write: “We don’t know what will happen, but we ask you to remember. No matter how things develop, don’t speak ill of the marines “. Same tenor also in Azov’s communications. “We cannot believe that in a country of 44 million inhabitants it is not possible to put together an assault group capable of breaking the encirclement”, said the commander. Denis Procopenko.

Valery Zaluzhnij, commander in chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, gives a different version. For him “The connections with the Mariupol defenses are regular and solid”, even if, he explains as an apology, what we do we do in secret. In his own words: “Mariupol’s defense operations are not a subject of public debate.”


April 11, 2022 (change April 11, 2022 | 18:54)

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