Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said the Mariupol defenders played a “huge role in destroying the enemy’s plans” as he gave an update claiming Russian forces were blocked elsewhere, but acknowledging a “difficult situation “ across the country.
By confronting so much Russian firepower in Mariupol, Reznikov said on Facebook, “So many tens of thousands of lives were saved across Ukraine. Today Mariupol saves Kyiv, Dnipro and Odessa. Everyone needs to understand that.”
Ukraine rejected an ultimatum to surrender the besieged city of Mariupol after a Russian deadline set at 5 a.m. Moscow time (10 a.m. ET) Monday.
Reznikov claimed that Russian ground forces were stalled elsewhere. This is the reason why Moscow is “making desperate attempts to drive Belarusian troops into war hell in Ukraine”.
Reznikov said Russia “no longer dreams of capturing Kyiv, and they are out of breath in Chernihiv and Sumy regions and receiving painful blows near Kharkiv, in Mykolayiv, Kherson and Luhansk regions”.
Chernihiv and Sumy in the north of the country are surrounded and badly damaged but are still under Ukrainian control. Meanwhile, the southern city of Kherson is occupied by Russian forces but has seen ongoing civilian protests, and more protests erupted in the southeastern city of Enerhodar over the weekend after the deputy mayor was arrested.
Russian troops in southern Ukraine “are still trying to bypass (the southern city of) Mykolaiv as they aim to advance west towards Odessa,” according to the UK MoD called late Sunday. Russian naval forces, it said, “continue to blockade the Ukrainian coast and launch missile attacks on targets across Ukraine.”
Kharkiv has been under heavy rocket and rocket attacks since the invasion began on February 24, but is not yet completely surrounded, according to Ukrainian officials.
Reznikov said that after 25 days of fighting “we are taking casualties. The enemy is destroying our cities and undermining our economies. The situation is very difficult.
“But as long as our army, reinforced by reserves, remains, we will fight. And we will win!”