On the 61st day of the Russian offensive on Ukraine, attacks on the strategic port of Mariupol continue, as Ukrainian forces continue to resist as best they can. At the same time, Kyiv continues to demand the delivery of weapons to deal with Russian attacks.
Russian fuel depot is burning
A fire broke out in a large fuel depot on Monday in a Russian town near the Ukrainian border, Russian authorities reported. The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations noted that “a fire broke out at the fuel depot in Transneft Bryansk Druzhba in Bryansk,” a town located 150 kilometers from the border with Ukraine and serving as a logistics base for the Moscow military offensive in this country. news agencies. “According to preliminary information, there are no casualties,” he added. The cause of this fire has not been determined.
The local branch of the Ministry of Emergency Situations stated that the fire broke out at about 2 am local time (1 am in France) in the Fokinsky district of the city of Bryansk, adding that rescuers and firefighters were sent to the scene.
Footage published by Russian media showed a fire lit up red at night in Bryansk, while thick smoke rose into the sky.
The Interfax news agency reported that a second fuel depot in the same area caught fire, but this information could not be immediately confirmed.
Two Ukrainian drones were shot down
Russia announced that it had shot down two Ukrainian drones near its border in the village of Borovskoye in the Kursk region. According to the region’s governor, Roman Starovit, quoted by the Russian news agency TASS, there were no casualties, injuries or damage. He announced via Telegram: “Today at 4:15 am in the village of Borovskoye, Rylsky district, two Ukrainian drones were shot down by Russian air defense teams.”
Ukraine can win according to Washington
The Pentagon chief, Lloyd Austin, claimed Ukraine could win the war, taking an emphatic offensive tone the day after the first visit to Kef by US leaders since the Russian invasion. “They can win if they have the right equipment, the right support,” he declared after this trip, during which he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, accompanied by Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken. The first thing you win is to think that you can win. The US defense secretary told a few reporters about the Ukrainians that they were convinced they could win.
The two officials announced to their interlocutors the gradual return of the US diplomatic presence in Ukraine and additional military assistance. The United States has just given a push to deliver military equipment to Ukraine. They are now supplying it with heavy weapons to resist the Russian attack in the eastern part of the country. “We want to see Russia so weak that it can’t do the same things as invading Ukraine,” the Pentagon chief said again. “It’s already lost a lot of military capabilities, a lot of troops to be frank, and we don’t want them to be able to quickly replenish those capabilities,” he added.
Anthony Blinken also indicated that US President Joe Biden will appoint a new US ambassador to Ukraine in the coming days. Bridget Brink will be the current ambassador to Slovakia. The diplomatic office in Ukraine since 2019 is headed by the Chargé d’Affairs. The return of the US diplomatic presence in the country will be very gradual, and the US will be much more cautious than many European countries that have already reopened their embassies in Kyiv.
Moscow declares a cease-fire, Kyiv denies
Russia announced its intention to stop hostilities on Monday to allow the evacuation of civilians holed up with Ukrainian fighters at the besieged Azovstal mineral complex in Mariupol, southeast Ukraine. The ministry said that Russian forces and their pro-Russian Ukrainian proxies pledged to “unilaterally cease hostilities at 2:00 p.m. Moscow time, withdraw units to a safe distance and ensure the departure of” civilians “in the direction of their choice”. Defense in a statement. The ministry specified the categories of people allowed to leave, including women, children, and factory workers. “If civilians are still at the metallurgical plant, we explicitly demand the authorities in Kyiv to give the leaders of the (Ukrainian) nationalist formations the order to release them,” the Russian ministry added.
Kyiv said no agreement was reached. “I state officially and publicly that unfortunately there is no agreement on a humanitarian corridor from Azovstal today,” Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshuk wrote on Telegram shortly after Russia announced it would halt hostilities to allow the evacuation of civilians. The huge Azovstal plant is the last reduced area controlled by Kyiv’s forces in Mariupol, a large port city devastated by bombing after several weeks of siege. While the buildings of the metal complex are largely destroyed on the roof, an extensive network of underground galleries has so far enabled Ukrainian fighters to deny Russian forces complete control. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that about a thousand civilians and hundreds of wounded are still trapped there, in catastrophic conditions, lacking water and food.
An announcement that responds to the United Nations’ call for an “immediate” truce in the city, a strategic port in the Sea of Azov almost completely controlled by the Russian military, in order to allow the evacuation of some 100,000 civilians still stranded in the area. A ruined city, besieged since early March. The bombing and fighting claimed the lives of more than 20,000 civilians in Mariupol, according to Mayor Vadim Boychenko, who denounced on Ukraine 24 TV that “the Russian occupation forces are preventing the evacuations.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross deplored “every day, every hour that passes has a heavy human cost” and urgently called for “the voluntary and safe passage of thousands of civilians and hundreds of wounded from the city, including in the area of the Azovstal plant”, the last pocket of resistance of Ukrainian fighters . The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that Russian forces were still besieging and bombing the factory. But “(Ukrainian) defense lines are on the verge of collapse” in Mariupol, as Presidential Adviser Oleksich Aristovich determined.
video. War in Ukraine: “Maybe we live our last hours”, the despair of Mariupol fighters
The commander of the 36 Mariupol Naval Brigade, Sergey Volina, stressed the need to accelerate efforts to free soldiers and civilians trapped in steel plants. “It is very difficult to defend oneself with a machine gun against grenade launchers or cruise missiles, or even to attack groups advancing on dozens of tanks,” emphasized Sergei Volina. An adviser to President Zelensky said that Ukraine had offered Russia to hold a “special session of talks right next to the Azovstal site,” noting that “waiting for a response.”
Kyiv offers talks with Russia
Ukraine has offered to hold talks with Russia next to the vast Azovstal mineral complex in Mariupol (southeast), where Ukrainian fighters and civilians are still entrenched in a devastated city largely under Russian control, the Ukrainian presidency announced on Sunday.
“We invited the Russians to hold a special session of talks next to the Azovstal site,” Oleksich Aristovich, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said, noting that “waiting for a response” from the Russian delegation.
Five killed in raids on railway installations
At least five people were killed and 18 wounded on Monday in Russian strikes on railway installations in Ukraine’s central-western region of Vinnytsia, the local prosecutor’s office said. Vinnytsia is an important railway junction, both within Ukraine and for connections with foreign countries. Most international trains crossing the country pass through this area.