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In Ukraine, the fall of Mariupol would be a turning point in the war

UKRANE – Crushed, surrounded, in ruins… Mariupol, symbol of the martyr city of the war in Ukraine was going to fall. On Monday, the Ukrainian military said it was preparing for… “one last fight”† Two days later, Wednesday, April 13, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that 1,000 soldiers had given up their weapons; a point denied by several Ukrainian authorities. In any case, the fall of this city could be a turning point in the conflict.

The Conquest of Mariupol because of the city’s strategic location, would provide a significant advantage to the Russian armed forces. It is located south of Donbassa region claimed by Moscow and partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014. If the city fell, the army of Vladimir Poutine would deprive the rest of Ukraine of access to the port and sea of ​​Azov, which are important for Ukrainian international trade.

More broadly, by taking control of Mariupol, the Russians would have access to the strip of land stretching as far as Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, even to Kherson, one of the first cities to be built after its inception. of the invasion on February 24. Connecting the Eastern and Southern Fronts would be a victory for Moscow after a first phase characterized by stalemate

There are also military implications. According to BBC, many Mariupol troops could redeploy to Donbass, Moscow’s main target since late March. Indeed, Russia has announced its withdrawal from the Kiev region and its intention to focus on the “liberation” of this region, which is home to the two separatist “republics” recognized by Moscow, Lugansk and Donetsk. A battle that Moscow dreams of winning on May 9, National Day.

The Battle of Donbass

In the GuardianWestern experts believe that the Russians could “double or even triple” their troops in this region after the withdrawal of troops from the capital and the possible victory of Mariupol. Jack Detsch, a journalist specializing in security, explains that the troops could take the Donbass via Izium, Lugansk, Donestk and Mariupol. His information comes from British intelligence.

The Ukrainian army is also strengthening its presence in the east in preparation for the offensive. The Ukrainian Defense Minister warned during a meeting with NATO: “The Battle of Donbass will make you think of the Second World War, with its major operations, maneuvers, the thousands of tanks and armed vehicles, the aircraft, artillery,” reports Foreign policy

In addition to Donbass, other troops from Mariupol could come to reinforce the troops stationed in Kherson, further west, where the Ukrainian army is still fighting to regain control of this city that has been taken since the early days of the war, according to the experts at Guardian.

In a message posted on the presidency’s website on Sunday, April 10, Volodymyr Zelensky was clear: “Mariupol is at the heart of this war. She fights, we fight, we are strong. If she stops fighting, we will have weaker positions.” A hard blow to the Ukrainians who would lose influence in the east but also in the negotiations with Russia.

See also on The Huffpost: These Aerial Photos of Mariupol Are Chilling

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