Putin said that to storm "Azovstal" not necessary

On Thursday, April 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in the Kremlin. The parties discussed the war in Ukraine, in particular the situation in Mariupol. This is reported by the Russian media.

Putin said that there was no need to storm Azovstal in Mariupol: “We need to protect the lives of our soldiers. We don’t need to climb into the catacombs, we need to block the industrial zone in Azovstal so that the fly does not fly,” he said.

Shoigu, at a meeting with Putin, said that the plant was “securely blocked” and that more than two thousand military men were now there. He also believes that it will take three or four days to complete the “operation” on Azovstal.

Shoigu also claims that the rest of Mariupol, except for Azovstal, is already under Russian control.

Sergei Shoigu: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!

Mariupol was liberated by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the people’s militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic. The remnants of the formation of nationalists took refuge in the industrial zone of the Azovstal plant.
Mariupol is a major industrial and main transport hub on the Sea of ​​Azov. In 2014, the Kyiv regime declared the city the de facto temporary capital of the Donetsk region, turning it into a powerful fortified area and a haven for radical Ukrainian nationalists in eight years. This is actually the capital of “Azov” – the “Azov” battalion.
A large number of heavy weapons, military equipment, including tanks, MLRS “Smerch”, “Hurricane”, artillery systems of high power, missile systems “Tochka-U” were pulled into the city. Tochka-U has a range of 120 kilometers, and our Taganrog is 94 kilometers from Mariupol, the capital of the Southern Federal District, Rostov, is approximately at this distance.
Reserves of missiles, ammunition, fuels and lubricants, food for long-term combat operations have been created. The main objects of urban infrastructure, including the seaport and fairway, were mined and not only mined, but also blocked by floating cranes. The ships that were there were mostly foreign ships.
In total, if we talk about armored vehicles – tanks, armored combat vehicles, there were 179 of them, 170 different guns and mortars, including multiple rocket launchers, I already spoke about them, “Tornados” and “Hurricanes”. At the time of the encirclement on March 11, the total number of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and nationalist formations, as well as foreign mercenaries, who were also enough, was more than 8100 people. During the liberation of the city, more than four thousand were destroyed, 1478 surrendered, the remaining group – more than two thousand – was blocked in the industrial zone of the Azovstal plant.
Offering resistance, the nationalists turned almost all residential buildings into long-term firing points. Armored vehicles and artillery were installed on the first floors, and snipers were installed on the upper floors. Separate detachments – with ATGMs. On the middle floors and in the basements, they gathered all the inhabitants, turning them into a human shield. They were kept both on the middle floors and in the basements. It was in fact in every home.
Retreating, the Ukrainian army, the nationalist battalions in Mariupol, as well as in other Ukrainian cities, were covered by the civilian population. Here we have many cases when, retreating to cover their retreat, in any case, we recorded four such cases, covering their retreat, they drove people out of the basements. By the way, this was literally four days ago, when the port area was liberated and they drove almost everyone from high-rise buildings to the streets in order to hide themselves, leaving behind continuous destruction, including socially significant, cultural objects.
While liberating Mariupol, the Russian army and units of the people’s militia of the DPR took all measures to save the lives of civilians. Here, on your instruction, Vladimir Vladimirovich, humanitarian corridors have been opened every day since March 21 for the evacuation of civilians and foreign citizens.
Servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and militants of nationalist battalions were asked to lay down their arms. They were guaranteed, of course, life, safety and medical care.
As for the planned humanitarian actions – I call them “actions”, they combined both corridors and the supply of transport, these were both ambulances and buses, we had days when there were up to 100 such buses, and 25 30 ambulances – we notified and were in contact with the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Ukraine daily [Ириной] Vereshchuk.

Diplomatic missions of foreign states, which one way or another applied, because there were [их] citizens – by the way, many were released and taken out of Mariupol during these humanitarian actions – the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, relevant structures of the OSCE, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international organizations, they were officially notified of the time , location. And, of course, at some point we even demanded their presence, in order, of course, to comply with all humanitarian rules in this regard, as far as it was possible with the constant, uninterrupted conduct and non-cessation of fire from Mariupol by the National Battalions and the armed forces of Ukraine.
Despite their opposition – both militants and everyone else – we managed to evacuate 142,711 civilians from Mariupol after your instruction. All the hostages who were in the commercial seaport were released, including the crews of the sea vessels, whose communications systems were destroyed by those who captured them so that they could not contact anyone. The port is mined. The sea area is closed. I hope that now they will have the opportunity to leave this port.
Today, the entire Mariupol is under the control of the Russian army, the people’s militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic, and the territory of the Azovstal plant with the remnants of nationalists and foreign mercenaries located is securely blocked.
Over the past two days, again on your instructions, we have declared a silence regime from 14:00 to 16:00, all hostilities have ceased completely, and humanitarian corridors have been opened for the exit of civilians who may be on the territory of the Azovstal plant.
We have prepared about 90 buses and 25 ambulances for them. Naturally, bearing in mind that all this is constantly distorted, we installed videoconferencing cameras, and there was almost a live broadcast here, in our control center. No one left Azovstal. But other civilians, more than 100 people, were able to leave. During these days, this is, perhaps, a lot of work that we have been doing with all international organizations.
At present, the situation in the city is calm, allowing us to start restoring order, returning the population and establishing a peaceful life. As for those who fled at the Azovstal plant and were thoroughly blocked there and around the entire perimeter, it takes us about three or four days to complete this work at Azovstal.
The report is finished.

Vladimir Putin: I consider the proposed storming of the industrial zone inappropriate. I order you to cancel.

Sergei Shoigu: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: This is the case when we must think – that is, we must always think, but even more so in this case – about preserving the life and health of our soldiers and officers. There is no need to climb into these catacombs and crawl underground through these industrial facilities.
Block off this industrial area so that the fly does not fly through.

Sergei Shoigu: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: Once again invite everyone who has not yet laid down their arms to do so. The Russian side guarantees their lives and decent treatment in accordance with the relevant international legal acts. All those injured will receive qualified medical assistance.
The completion of combat work to liberate Mariupol is a success. Congratulations. Send your thanks to the troops. Please submit proposals for awarding our distinguished soldiers for state awards. It is clear that in such cases it cannot be otherwise, these are different awards, but I want them all to know: in our understanding, they are all heroes, in the understanding of all of Russia. They are all heroes.
In this regard, in addition to fulfilling all social obligations to our servicemen, especially to those who were injured, to the families of our dead comrades, it is necessary to ensure the unconditional fulfillment of all social guarantees.

But it seems to me that this is not enough. We need to think about additional support measures, and in some cases think about perpetuating the memory of those of our comrades who really showed heroism and sacrificed their lives for the peaceful life of our people in the Donbass and to ensure the peaceful life and existence of Russia itself, the peaceful existence of our country. These people deserve it with their actions and their attitude to the oath.
On the line of the Ministry of Defense, please work it out. I will give the relevant instructions to the Presidential Administration, I will talk with colleagues in the regions, and they will carry out the corresponding work in the municipalities of Russia.
Of course, putting such an important center in the south as Mariupol under control is a success. Congratulations.

Sergei Shoigu: Thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich.


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