5 things to know on Friday

As Battle of Mariupol Continues, Putin May Be Desperate for V-Day Victory

The Ukrainian military says Russian efforts to seize the steel mill in the besieged coastal city of Mariupol are continuing. In a statement on Friday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that “the blockade of units of the Defense Forces in the Azovstal region continues”. He added that assault operations had resumed in some areas to take control of the factory. The two sides also engaged in fighting on Thursday with signs pointing to an increasingly dire situation for the resistance. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his evening speech on Thursday that the attack on the plant was preventing the evacuation of civilians who remained in its underground bunkers. The continued fighting comes amid growing speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to present the Russian people with a triumph on the battlefield – or herald an escalation in war – in time for VE Day on Monday, the most great patriotic holiday in the Russian calendar. It marks the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany.

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