“Putin lost the war. The world is with Ukraine”, read a poster today in the Ukrainian capital.
With one hand, Russia is negotiating a ceasefire in Ukraine and with the other it is following to the letter its plan for the “demilitarization” of Ukraine and the laying of a land corridor between Donbas and the annexed Crimean peninsula.
THE AZOV, A RUSSIAN INLAND SEA
Ukraine managed to keep its flag for one more day in Mariúpol, the main port in Azov, which Moscow wants to turn into an inland sea to guarantee the security of the Crimean naval base in Sevastopol.
“The soldiers of the Putin horde constantly hammer the city and do not allow us to evacuate the wounded, women and children. That scum can’t find any other way to bend us,” said Vadym Boychenko, the city’s mayor.
He also accused Russian troops of preventing the restoration of electricity, water and heating supplies, damaging the railway network and blocking the arrival of food for its half a million inhabitants.
“They are making a blockade like in the old Leningrad. They deliberately destroyed vital infrastructure for the city to function,” she stressed.
The Russian command insists, for its part, that its forces and the pro-Russian separatist militias have taken numerous towns around that irreducible city that the rebels were already unable to take in 2014.
“Units of the Donetsk People’s Republic tightened the siege around the city of Mariupol,” Russian Defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
TOTAL SIEGE CAMPAIGN
The Ukrainian Army hopes that now the enemy will strike with the full force of his military fist the port of Berdyansk and the cities of Zaporozhye and Melitopol.
If Russian troops manage to link these cities with Kherson, a city controlled for days by Moscow, then the next target would be Odessa, the most important Ukrainian port on the Black Sea and the base of its Navy.
“They want to destroy our Odessa, but all they will see is the bottom of the Black Sea,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said today.
Four Russian landing ships are moving in the direction of Odessa, while an enemy plane was shot down while attacking a Ukrainian military garrison in the region of the same name.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, the enemy Navy also sank an Estonian merchant ship, “Helt”, flying the Panamanian flag and with six crew members on board, two of them Russians.
“Even time is on our side. There has been a storm at sea for days, which, as it happens, is also fighting for Odessa by preventing the landing of Russian marines,” Inga Kordinóvskaya, a volunteer who distributes aid to the city’s defenders, told Efe.
Meanwhile, Russian aircraft killed at least 33 people in a residential neighborhood of the northern city of Chernigov and completely destroyed Yakovlivka, a town of 600 inhabitants in the Kharkov region.
“The time has come to increase the pressure on the enemy, who has lost the initiative. It is time to move to total resistance,” Oleksii Reznikov, the defense minister, said in a statement on Facebook.
KYIV IS FORTIFIED
Meanwhile, Kiev strengthens its defenses inside the city. The Plaza de la Independencia was taken over by the military, who stationed soldiers on every corner and installed anti-tank barriers on the same road.
In addition, dozens of young volunteers gathered on the Maidan to fill the earth sacks, destined to cover the doors and windows of the adjoining buildings.
In the square, the scene of two democratic revolutions in 2004 and 2014, barricades were also improvised to defend access to the Government and the Verkhovna Rada or Parliament.
“We knew that Putin was crazy, but not that he was a complete psychopath,” a Kievite who brought food and hot tea to the workers told Efe.
The drivers of the garbage collection trucks have joined the cause of defending the city, for which they have asked the Kievites not to throw away plastic or paper due to the lack of personnel.
It matters little that, according to the US Department of Defense, the Ukrainian forces have managed to stop the advance of the Russian military convoy destined to assault Kiev.
The Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense today shot down a Russian S-30 plane on the outskirts of the capital and a cruise missile in the city itself.
CIVILIANS WITH A LICENSE TO KILL
The Rada (Parliament) today lifted all restrictions on the use of firearms by civilians, who have received authorization to shoot at the occupants.
The legislature – like Zelenski and Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba – also addressed the international community to establish a no-fly zone in Ukraine, open humanitarian corridors and deploy UN peacekeepers.
In the first seven days of the invasion, more than two million Ukrainians have had to leave their homes, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.