“By our own means”
Azovstal fighters complain about lack of help from Kyiv
Ukrainian soldiers have been resisting for weeks in the besieged Azovstal factory in Mariupol. Although their resources are dwindling and the situation is getting more desperate every day, giving up is not an option, says one of the ARD fighters. However, he asks for more commitment from his government.
Ukrainian soldiers resisting at the besieged Azovstal factory in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol have no plans to surrender. Ilja Samojlenko pointed this out in ARD’s “Daily Topics”. Lieutenant of the Azov Brigade is among the remaining fighters at the Azovstal plant. The Russian army asks them to give up. However, captivity in Russia would be “catastrophic” for Ukrainian fighters, the commander warned. Because the Ukrainian army is classified as a terrorist organization in Russia. “It would mean immediate death for us.”
According to Ukrainian sources, more than 1,000 troops are still holding out in the steel plant’s underground facilities to defend Mariupol. Apart from the industrial zone, the port city is entirely under Russian control. “We have no connection with the rest of the country, we are completely self-sufficient here,” Samoylenko says, describing the plight of the remaining troops. So there is no way for them to stock up or leave the factory.
According to a paramedic, there is also an absolute shortage of medicine, adding to the suffering of wounded Ukrainian soldiers. Although resources are dwindling, they want to continue to fight for Ukraine’s national security and integrity, Samoylenko told ARD – despite constant shelling by the Russian military.
“No support, no relief supplies – nothing”
The commander is aware that each day “could be the last”. However, he places hope in international support. Previous aid from Western countries is a “great sign”, the commander hailed military supplies and financial assurances from the West. However, he makes a caveat: “I would say there could be more support.”
Ukrainian fighters also expect more commitment from their own government. He and the other fighters who have been holed up for weeks are “getting no support, no relief supplies – nothing,” the commander complains. “We are basically completely alone.” The people of Ukraine know what Mariupol soldiers are doing for the country. “But I don’t know if that also applies to our government,” Samoylenko said. Specifically, he would like to see more diplomatic action from Kyiv, “like working to resolve the situation here in Mariupol.” You have to work with other parties to achieve this.
According to “Ukrajinska Pravda”, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk recently announced the opening of new negotiations. kyiv has given the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross a mandate to hold talks with the Russian side, and Turkey is now involved as a mediator. This is the evacuation of the remaining Ukrainians in several stages, by which initially 38 seriously injured defenders must be taken out of the steelworks.