The end of the resistance in Mariupol, in the south-east of Ukraine, seemed imminent on the evening of Monday April 11. kyiv has announced that Ukrainian forces are preparing for the fall of this strategic port. According to the authorities, thousands of civilians have died since the beginning of the siege of the city by the Russian army on February 24.
A heavy toll in Mariupol
Ukrainian Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko claimed more than 10,000 civilians died since the beginning of the siege of this large city in the south-east of the country by the Russian army. According to him, the toll could even double and exceed 20,000 victims. The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, had estimated a little earlier that “tens of thousands” people were killed in this city of half a million people.
Interviewed by the American news agency AP (in English)Mariupol’s mayor also accused Russian forces of bringing mobile cremation equipment into the city to dispose of the bodies, and refusing to let aid convoys in to cover up the carnage.
Pro-Russian separatists say they have conquered Mariupol
Earlier in the day, the leader of the pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk announced that his forces have completely conquered the port area of the city. “He is already under our control”, said Denis Pushilin, quoted by Russian news agencies.
For their part, the Ukrainian forces seem to be preparing for the worst. “Today will probably be the last battle” in Mariupol “because our ammunition is running out”the 36th Brigade of the National Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wrote on Facebook on Monday. “It will be death for some of us and captivity for others. We don’t know what will happen, but we do ask that you remember (us) with a kind word.”added the 36th brigade on the social network.
A major offensive expected in the Donbass
Mariupol is not the only troubled area in the country. Donbass, located in the east of Ukraine, would be the target of a major offensive to come, according to kyiv. “According to our information, the enemy has almost completed its preparation for an assault on the east. The attack will take place very soon”warned the spokesman of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, Oleksandre Motouzianik.
In Washington, a senior Pentagon official confirmed that Russian forces are strengthening around the region, and in particular near the strategic town of Izium. “We have seen efforts by the Russians to resupply and strengthen in the Donbass”the official told AFP, mentioning in particular a column of tanks north of the city.
Societe Generale left Russia
Monday morning, Société Générale announced “to cease operations” in Russia and sell its entire stake in Rosbank, a heavyweight in the Russian banking sector, as well as its insurance subsidiaries in the country. Even if, as the group states in a press release, the transaction “envisaged” remains subject to the approval of the competent regulatory and competition law authorities. According to the group, “The finalization of this operation should take place in the coming weeks.”
Until now, the French group had continued its activities in Russia since the start of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. And it weighed, in this country, 18.6 billion euros, of which 15.4 billion (83%) accounted for in its subsidiary Rosbank.