EU chief pushes Putin for Mariupol humanitarian access
Ukraine says hundreds of its forces and civilians are holed up inside the Azovstal steel plant
People hide in a shelter during Russian shelling, in Mariupol, Ukraine. – AP
European Council president Charles Michel said he urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call Friday to allow humanitarian access to the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol during Orthodox Easter.
“Strongly urged for immediate humanitarian access and safe passage from Mariupol and other besieged cities all the more on the occasion of Orthodox Easter,” Michel said on Twitter after the call, adding he “firmly reiterated the EU’s position: support for Ukraine and her sovereignty, condemnation and sanctions for Russia’s aggression.”
The success of Russia's military operation in Ukraine depends on Moscow's ability to capture the strategic port city of Mariupol, which has been surrounded for weeks by Russian forces, the regional governor told AFP Friday.
"The enemy's offensive operation in the south hinges on Mariupol. The enemy is trying to focus all its efforts on it," Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
Ukraine says hundreds of its forces and civilians are holed up inside the sprawling Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol and Kyiv has repeatedly called for a ceasefire to allow women, children and the elderly to safely exit the destroyed city.