Author: Judith

Ukrainian military plans to retake strategic city of Mariupol

Ukrainian military plans to retake strategic city of Mariupol

After Russian retreat, Ukrainian military plans next move

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Ukrainian forces are making plans for an offensive on the country’s southern border to retake the strategic city of Mariupol, the army announced Wednesday. The city is home to a sprawling Russian naval base on the Sea of Azov, making it strategic to any Ukrainian push in the east.

The Ukrainian National Guard is already in control of Mariupol, which has been under a siege, with troops from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

“Our goal is to break through the gates of Mariupol,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksandr Yakymenko said in a briefing with reporters. “We have a chance to do it.”

Ukraine had said earlier this week it would launch a “precision offensive” against targets in the country’s east, and had indicated it could use armored vehicles to break through Russian troops encamped in the city of Donetsk.

On Wednesday, Yakymenko said the military was planning its next move.

“We are preparing for a precision strike in Mariupol. We are confident that we will strike the fortified Russian positions, especially the naval base,” he said.

It is widely known that Russia is keeping a strong defense presence in the city despite a temporary truce in the east of Ukraine signed Feb. 12 by leaders of Ukraine’s government, the opposition and Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.

Yakymenko on Wednesday also said he was confident the Ukrainian military could break through.

“The Ukrainian military is very strong. If they do their job well, we will liberate Mariupol from the occupiers,” he said.

This comes shortly after a Russian-supported militia of several thousand armed men in the Donetsk region captured a Ukrainian army unit holding a position on the edge of the town.

The army released photos of what it claimed are two Ukrainian armored personnel carriers that were captured during a raid by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic militia on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian military has repeatedly said its forces are well supplied with equipment and that it could take on and defeat any enemy.

The Ukrainian army, which has been carrying out a two-front offensive in southeastern Ukraine

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