Azov Battalion says video shows civilians hiding underground

The controversial Azov Battalion has released a video it says shows its fighters in Mariupol, which Russia claims to have “liberated”, underground with civilians sheltering.

Uploaded to the Azov Battalion YouTube channel and shared by the National Guard of Ukraine – which includes the battalion – on its verified twitter accountthe video allegedly shows Azov fighters distributing supplies to civilians holed up under the Azovstal steel complex, which remains under Ukrainian control.

“We want to see peaceful skies, we want to breathe fresh air,” said a woman in the video, posted on Saturday but believed to have been shot on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

“You just have no idea what it means to us to just eat, drink sweet tea. For us, that’s happiness already,” she told the news service, which noted that the “[c]The content of the video could not be independently verified.

A girl in the video claimed she and her family had seen “neither the sky nor the sun” since late February, as Mariupol came under siege soon after the Russian invasion began.

Mariupol has proven to be a tough nut to crack for the Russian forces, although reports of its impending downfall have been circulating for weeks now.

In recent days, Russians have claimed she has finally been ‘liberated’, with the fact that the Ukrainian army remains a threat in the port city’s fortified steelworks being downplayed and President Vladimir Putin appearing on video to cancel a planned assault – perhaps as a ruse – and order it to be sealed instead.

“There is no need to climb into these catacombs and crawl underground through these industrial facilities. Block [Azovstal] so that even a fly does not pass,” he said.

The city has been a point of interest throughout the conflict, in part because of its status as the stronghold of the Azov Battalion – formerly an unofficial paramilitary force with neo-Nazi ties that the mainstream media does not deny, despite the general dismissal of the Russian army. characterizing their “special military operation” against a Ukraine led by a Jewish president and a Jewish prime minister as a “denazification” mission.

Mariupol is also important because of its strategic position on the map, with Moscow having to bring it under full control if it is to establish a secure land bridge between Crimea, annexed in 2014, and Russian separatist-controlled territory in Donbass and Russia. itself – a key war objective.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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