Once a day, NU.nl gives you an overview of the situation in Ukraine. This time: from the besieged Mariupol steelworks, an officer of the Azov regiment says to keep fighting until the end. Additionally, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky made their voices heard at the annual celebration of victory over Nazi Germany.
Ukrainian soldiers at the besieged Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, which are the last stronghold of resistance against Russian forces in the southern port city, said on Sunday surrender was not an option.
“We will continue to fight as long as we live to repel the Russian occupiers,” a regiment deputy commander said in an online contact. “We don’t have much time, we are bombed hard.”
He pleaded with the international community to help evacuate wounded soldiers from the huge complex. The day before, it had been reported that the last women, children and elderly people hiding there had been brought to safety. It is unclear how many resistance fighters and male civilians are still entrenched.
Military experts assume that the Russians and pro-Russian rebels want to clear the Azovstal complex as soon as possible. Russian President Vladimir Putin can then announce the conquest of all of Mariupol on Monday, during the 77th celebration of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.
Russians allegedly damaged cultural heritage sites
The Russians have so far destroyed or damaged almost 200 cultural heritage sites in Ukraine. Zelensky announced it.
“Unfortunately, evil often returns when people do not respect the rights of others, ignore the law and destroy culture,” the Ukrainian president said. “This is exactly what happened to the Russian state. This is why we must all defend ourselves now. Defend our people, our cities and even our museums, which are becoming targets of Russian missile attacks.”
On Friday, a Russian missile damaged a museum of a famous 18th-century Ukrainian poet and philosopher in the Kharkiv region, Zelensky said.
In the Hryhoriy Skovoroda Literary Memorial Museum in the Kharkiv region, bombed on Friday, stands the statue of the Ukrainian poet and philosopher.
Attacks continue, school hit by shelling
Meanwhile, explosions were heard in various places in Ukraine, including Odessa on Sunday. One of these attacks hit a school in Lugansk. Dozens of deaths are feared. According to the regional governor, a hundred people took refuge in the completely destroyed building. Dozens of people are still under the rubble.
Ukrainian and Russian warships were also reportedly destroyed on Sunday. Russia says a ship was hit by a missile near the southern city of Odessa, Ukraine says it sank the frigate Admiral Makarov, near Snake Island.
In Luhansk, Russian shells reportedly hit an oil refinery in Lisichiansk. This would have damaged the production facilities. Additionally, firefighters are unable to do their jobs due to ongoing artillery fire, the local governor said.
Putin: “Victory will be ours”
The annual celebration of victory over Nazi Germany also took place on Sunday. To mark the occasion, Putin gave a speech on Sunday in which the president said he believed Russia would win the war in Ukraine.
“Today, like their ancestors, our soldiers are fighting shoulder to shoulder to liberate their homeland from the Nazis. It is done with confidence that, as in 1945, victory will be ours,” Putin said. Russia claims since the beginning of the war to have invaded Ukraine on February 24 to “demilitarize” and “denazify” the country.
Every year on May 8, many European countries commemorate the official surrender of Nazi Germany on this day in 1945. The commemoration of the victory over Nazi Germany will not officially take place until Monday in Russia, because the surrender took place after midnight due to jet lag. The victory is celebrated with a military parade in Red Square in Moscow.
Zelensky also spoke about the victory over Nazi Germany on Sunday. Among other things, he pointed to the post-war promise that a war like this should never happen again. “Darkness has returned to Ukraine after decades,” the Ukrainian president said. “He wears a different uniform and uses different slogans, but he serves the same purpose.”