Russian Forces Claims Mariupol Steel Plant is Under Their Control

Russian Forces Claims Mariupol Steel Plant is Under Their Control

May 21, 2022, 7:40 a.m.

The Russian defense ministry says 2,439 Ukrainian defenders at the Azovstal steel plant in the key port city of Mariupol have surrendered. It says the underground facilities have come under the full control of Russia's armed forces.

The ministry said on Friday that Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin both Mariupol and the steel plant have been "fully liberated." Shoigu also indicated the liberation of the Luhansk region would soon follow.

A Ukrainian defense ministry spokesperson said Ukrainian forces are fighting back and inflicting major losses on Russian troops and equipment. The spokesperson said the troops repelled Russian attacks 14 times in two eastern regions the previous day, destroying eight tanks.

Regarding Finland and Sweden's application to join NATO on Wednesday, Shoigu said tension continues to grow near Russia's western borders. He said Russian forces would respond by forming 12 units and divisions in its western military district. He also said they were working to improve the combat strength of their troops by the end of the year.

Finnish state-owned gas wholesaler Gasum said the flow of natural gas from Russia would stop from Saturday. Russian energy giant Gazprom confirmed it had notified Gasum of the halt.

Russia has also stopped exporting electricity to Finland, likely in retaliation. Russia has strongly criticized Western nations for stepping up military aid to Ukraine.

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