The Russian Defense Ministry has called on the remaining Ukrainian forces, besieged at a steel plant in the coastal city of Mariupol, to lay down their arms, offering safety guarantees, if they accept the proposal and halt all hostilities on Sunday morning.
“Considering the catastrophic situation at the Azovstal metallurgical plant, and being guided by purely humane principles, the Russian Armed Forces offer militants of nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries to stop hostilities and lay down their arms starting 6am Moscow time on April 17, 2022,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a late-night announcement on Saturday.
“All who lay down their weapons are guaranteed the preservation of life,” the ministry stated.
Earlier on Saturday, Moscow revealed its estimate of Ukrainian casualty numbers, claiming that in the city of Mariupol alone, Kiev has lost more than 4,000 combatants, including “foreign mercenaries” and “Nazis” associated with the notorious Azov and Aidar regiments.
In its ceasefire proposal, the Russian military said that the remaining troops are in a “hopeless situation, with virtually no food and water,” citing the contents of hundreds of radio intercepts on Saturday alone. The holed-up fighters allegedly “persistently request permission from the officials in Kiev to lay down their arms and surrender,” while the Ukrainian authorities “categorically forbid it under the threat of wartime executions,” Moscow claimed.
Moscow offered to establish a direct communication line with the Ukrainian troops at 5am, and to indicate the beginning of the actual ceasefire at 6am by raising flags around the perimeter of Azovstal – red on the Russian side and white on the Ukrainian side. The Ukrainian units will then have until 1pm to withdraw from their stronghold, without any weapons or ammunition.
The proposal and terms of surrender “will be broadcast continuously throughout the night to Ukrainian formations at Azovstal on all radio channels at 30-minute intervals,” the ministry added.
Earlier this week, more than 1,000 service members of Ukraine’s 36th Marines Brigade allegedly laid down their arms at the Illich Steel and Iron Works, a giant metal mill they were using as a stronghold. The report, however, was disputed by Ukrainian officials.
Mariupol has seen some of the most intense fighting since Moscow launched its offensive.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.
The Russian armed forces have destroyed 1,035 foreign mercenaries in Ukraine, the Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
“During combat operations, 1,035 foreign mercenaries were destroyed by the Russian armed forces. Another 912 mercenaries refused to participate in the hostilities and fled the country,” Konashenkov said in a morning briefing.
In Mariupol alone, about 400 foreign mercenaries among Ukrainian troops are surrounded by Russian forces at Azovstal metallurgical plant, mostly citizens of European countries and Canada, Konashenkov said.
“We have already said earlier that radio conversations between militants in Mariupol are being carried out in six foreign languages. In the event of further resistance, all of them [foreign mercenaries] will be destroyed,” the spokesman said.
In total, Kiev has attracted 6,824 foreign mercenaries from 63 countries to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s special military operation, Konashenkov said.
The largest group of 1,717 mercenaries came from Poland, 1,500 people arrived from the United States, Canada, and Romania, 300 from each of the United Kingdom and Georgia, and 193 from Turkish-controlled areas of Syria. The vast majority of foreign mercenaries are fighting in the cities of Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, Nikolaev and Mariupol, the spokesman added.
“As a result of hostilities, the number of mercenaries is steadily declining, and today it amounts to 4,877 people,” he stressed.
Konashenkov stressed that foreign mercenaries in Ukraine do not have the status of combatants under international humanitarian law, so they will face criminal liability and long-term imprisonment, at best.
Russian sanctions in Britain
The involvement of Western countries in the war in Ukraine is escalating with reports in the British press talking about participation in the training of the Ukrainian army.
In particular, commanders of the Ukrainian army are talking about two trainings by active British officers, with London at the moment neither confirming nor denying.
A move that is expected to anger Russia, which has warned the United States when it announced it would send artillery and US military trainers to Ukraine for the first time.
The British newspaper The Times cites sources from two battalions of the Ukrainian army, who claim that Ukrainian recruits have been trained twice in the last two weeks by active British commandos.
Capt. Yuriy Myronenko, whose battalion is based in the Obolon region of Ukraine, said British special forces had trained recruits to use NLAWs, which had been sent from the United Kingdom to Ukraine in February.
At the same time, the second commander, who only gives the code name “Bear”, commented on the good relationship that developed between the British and Ukrainian soldiers, as he emphasizes that “they were invited to visit Britain after the end of the war”.
Anti-tank missile training
Former British soldiers, Marines and special forces commandos are also in Ukraine working as contract trainers and volunteers, but Ukrainian officials have so far insisted they were not in action.
James Heappey, Britain’s Secretary of the Armed Forces, said Ukrainian troops were due to arrive in Britain next week for training in armored vehicles.
Myronenko noted that the resumption of training is crucial because the recruits and veterans who were enrolled at the time of the invasion had no experience with the anti-tank missiles, which Britain continued to send as Russian forces invaded.
Immediate involvement of NATO
Until recently, Ukrainian soldiers were trained mainly via video on Youtube, as any training on Ukrainian soil could be considered a direct NATO involvement in the war.
In Ukraine, British retired people used to help with education, but not in action. In fact, Britain withdrew the army it had deployed in Ukraine since 2014.
The British Ministry of Defense, however, neither confirmed nor denied the so-called Ukrainian military, in a rather common tactic of not commenting on special military operations.
A British man was captured in Mariupol
Russian investigators will interrogate the British mercenary Sean Peter who was captured in Mariupol, as announced by the Russian Investigative Committee on Saturday (16/4/2022).
“The commission will definitely interrogate another mercenary arrested in Mariupol,” he was quoted as saying by Ria Novosti.
Sean Peter is the second Briton to be captured in Mariupol. He served in the 36th Marine Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces as a assault rifleman and is now in captivity. He expresses his desire to leave Ukraine and advises his compatriots not to go to the country to fight.
Russian sanctions in Britain
Russia has barred British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other government ministers from entering the country over Britain’s “hostile” stance on the war in Ukraine.
Secretary of State Liz Truss, Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace and 10 other politicians – mostly cabinet members – have also received similar sanctions.
Moscow has said the decision was in retaliation for UK sanctions against Russia since it invaded Ukraine. In March 2022, Moscow imposed a similar ban on US President Joe Biden.
Strategic Tu-22M3 bombers detonate bombs over the Azovstal plant after the ultimatum was rejected by the remaining Azovites.
At dawn yesterday, the Russian Ministry of Defense demanded the surrender of those left over from Azov’s forces. The Russians estimate that some 2,500 Azovites, including 400 mercenaries, have taken refuge in cathedrals and underground tunnels in Azovstal.
Moscow is only interested in the 400.
According to the same estimates, their initial number was 14,000! So we are talking about 11,000 casualties, wounded and surrendered forces.
At the end of the ultimatum, Tu-22M3 bombers were aimed at AzovStal.
In the video you can see how a Tu-22M3 bomber moves in the direction of Mariupol. Given that these aircraft often operate in pairs, there is probably a second bomber. The video was taken today at noon.
And a second British in the hands of the Russians
The Russians released two videos. One with the capture of a second British mercenary, Sean Piner, and one with the first prisoner, Aiden Aslin.
Both served in the 36th Marine Brigade of Ukraine.
In the video, Sean Piner states that he is 48 years old and served in the 36th Marine Brigade of Ukraine, which surrendered several days ago.
Only Piner’s head and shoulders, with a long-sleeved T-shirt, are shown in the video, where he is sitting. He spoke clearly and without emotion.
Piner served in the Royal Constitution of England for nine years. His Facebook posts show that he was in Bosnia for the UN Protection Force in the 1990s. He also took part in the fight against the Islamic State with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, known as the YPG, in Syria.
In an interview, apparently under Russian pressure, he states that the Ukrainian administration left its detachment at the most critical moment.
During the interrogation, he stated that the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine sent him along with other soldiers to the area, which was under the control of the Russian army.
“My commander seemed to have been killed, I still do not know what happened to those who were there with me. I have no idea about that. We were abandoned. “I do not know who made that decision,” he said.
The Briton explained that his team left the industrial zone of Mariupol before sunrise. They took the wounded with them and started moving at four in the morning, but then the artillery and mortar bombardment began. They were eventually located and taken prisoner.
Read also HERE
The Russians beat the first British
Aiden Ashlin, who was fighting with Piner in the besieged port of Mariupol, appeared in the video handcuffed and bruised.
British media report that “with a large red mark on the forehead, a swollen eye and visibly exhausted, a 28-year-old Briton appeared, who had moved to Ukraine and -before the outbreak of war- worked in a care unit (!) In Mariupol.
His family now fears he may be executed or taken to Russia and never seen again.
“This is Aiden Aslin, who is now a prisoner of the Russians after his team ran out of food and ammunition and were forced to surrender.”
Aiden Ashlin had even videotaped a video in order to be released before being arrested. See what he says in the second video
The Commander of the 36th Brigade is dead
According to the Russians who made the relevant plans public, Spetsnaz special forces killed after a battle the Commander of the 36th Marine Brigade, Colonel Vladimir Anatolyevich Baraniuk.
The Colonel tried to break the Russian blockade and leave Mariupol with about 100 more Marines. This is probably the last attempt made a few days ago and it ended in tragedy. 55 were killed and about 45 surrendered later.
Their Commander was killed during the clash.
The video does not show the whole battle for obvious reasons.
At the same time, the Russians released videos of Ukrainian forces handing over their weapons.
Watch in the video frame by frame the operation of Spetsnaz and the battle that followed