Ukraine Ends Combat Mission In Mariupol, Signaling Russian Victory For Key Port City
A screen grab taken from a video released by Russian Defense Ministry shows Ukrainian soldiers are being evacuated from Azovstal steel plant in the port city of Mariupol, Ukraine on May 17, 2022.
Russian Defense Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Late Monday, the Ukrainian government appeared to surrender the key port city of Mariupol to the Russians.

According to live war updates from The New York Times, capture of the Azovstal steel complex in Mariupol was the deciding factor in Russia’s apparent victory over the Ukrainians in their combat mission.

In a brief remark to the Times, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky shared that their current goal was to prevent further casualties.

“We hope to save the lives of our boys,” Zelensky said.

According to the Associated Press, around 260 Ukrainian soldiers were bussed to Russian-controlled territory. Photos captured by Reuters apparently showed Ukrainian troops aboard the buses.

Last month, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko estimated that the city’s casualties were about 21,000. The port city conflict was one of the longest in the ongoing war.

The quality of the Reuters pictures should be taken with a grain of salt. Earlier on Monday, Reuters published a controversial photo of men in what appeared to be paintball gear to accompany their coverage on Ukraine claiming success in a different campaign. According to reports, Ukraine drove back Russian occupying forces in the Sumy region and retained control of the Chernihiv border region as well.

Reaction to the apparent Mariupol defeat reflected on the U.S. House’s approval last week to send Ukraine another $40 billion in aid.

Conservative journalist Pedro Gonzalez pointed out that Ukrainian troops assigned to the Mariupol combat mission accused their government of abandoning them, referencing Azov regiment complaints documented by The Wall Street Journal.

“Zelensky just surrendered the strategically important port city Mariupol after besieged Ukrainian troops there had complained that they had been ignored and abandoned except for propaganda purposes,” Gonzalez said.

Although the House approved the $40 billion aid for Ukraine, the package was blocked temporarily in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), however, the aid package is expected to pass sometime this week.

A number of Republican senators vowed to vote against the aid. Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) insisted that the U.S. needed to improve its own national security and economy before coming to the aid of others.

“We’ve already committed a great deal of money, and I know people are concerned that money is being well spent, and we should certainly take effort to oversee that carefully,” Hagerty told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo. “At the same time, we’ve got to take care of things at home first.”

Ahead of the House approving aid, the Ukrainian government tweeted out a “Matrix” meme to express their pleasure with the arrangement.

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