Russia moves forces to Mariupol ahead of ‘Victory Day’ parade, officials work to rescue trapped troops


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Russia is moving troops from combat zones in Ukraine to Mariupol in preparation for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “Victory Day” parade in the southern port city, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate warned on Saturday. .

The announcement comes just two days before military parades are scheduled across Ukraine and Russia, celebrating the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany.

BATTLE FOR AZOVSTAL STEEL RAGES ON, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER WARNS RUSSIAN FORCES HAVE REACHED FACTORY

Troops march during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade to be held in Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square on May 9 to celebrate 77 years since the victory of World War II in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, May 5, 2022.
(AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry released a list of more than 200 senior Russian military officials who were sent to Mariupol to monitor the security situation.

Officials said Putin would use the parade to try to prove his military success in eastern Ukraine, even as brutal fighting continues in the region.

Last month, Putin clinched victory over Mariupol despite Russia’s inability to fully take the city.

Fighting continues from the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol under the Azovstal steelworks where around 200 civilians and soldiers remain trapped.

In this photo taken from a video released on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 by the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic, smoke rises from the Azovstal metallurgical complex in Mariupol, in the territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine.

In this photo taken from a video released on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 by the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic, smoke rises from the Azovstal metallurgical complex in Mariupol, in the territory under the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine.
(Press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic via AP)

RUSSIA REVEALS HUGE SCOPE OF MAY 9 MILITARY PARADES AS WAR IN UKRAINE RAGES

Ukrainian soldiers have refused to surrender and concerns are growing that Russian forces will completely wipe out the remaining survivors by the May 9 parade.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a late-night speech that he continued to push the Russians to respect a ceasefire and allow the evacuation of the remaining entrenched Ukrainians.

“We are also working on diplomatic options to save our servicemen who still remain in Azovstal,” he said. “Influential mediators are involved. Influential states.”

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Friday that 50 women, children and elderly civilians had been evacuated from the tunnels.

But dozens more could not be rescued due to Russia’s continued assault on the plant – despite repeated claims from Moscow that this would enable humanitarian evacuation efforts.

Russian army soldiers stand in a rolling military vehicle during a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, May 7, 2022. The parade will take place in Moscow's Red Square on May 9 to celebrate 77 years since victory in World War II.

Russian army soldiers stand in a rolling military vehicle during a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, May 7, 2022. The parade will take place in Moscow’s Red Square on May 9 to celebrate 77 years since victory in World War II.
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

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Last week, the United Nations worked to broker an agreement to save the hundreds of people trapped under Russian bombardment. But the efforts were halted by a new assault by Russian forces on the factory.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych claimed Russian troops were trying to eliminate remaining resistance in Mariupol as a giveaway for Putin ahead of the May 9 parade, Reuters reported on Saturday.


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