Commander in Mariupol Says Ukrainian Forces Facing “Last Days, if Not Hours”

The destroyed city of Mariupol

A marine commander defending the Ukrainian city of Mariupol has said his forces are “maybe facing our last days, if not hours” and called for western intervention, as another Russian demand for surrender passed without capitulation from defending troops.

“The enemy is outnumbering us 10 to one,” said Serhiy Volyna, a commander in the 36th separate marine brigade, in a video posted to Facebook. “We appeal and plead to all world leaders to help us. We ask them to use the procedure of extraction and take us to the territory of a third-party state”.

Ukrainian forces are vastly outnumbered in Mariupol, but have formed a final pocket of resistance in the Azovstal iron and steelworks. The rest of the city is understood to now be under Russian control.

Russian-backed separatists said yesterday that the latest demand for surrender had seen just five Ukrainian troops give themselves up. Similar demands from Russia have also previously been ignored.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy estimated that 1,000 civilians were sheltering at the Azovstal plant along with soldiers. He said that he was willing to swap Russian prisoners of war in exchange for safe passage for those trapped in the city.

Forces in Mariupol said that the plant had come under heavy bombardment as Russian military attempt to stamp out the last resistance to occupation in the city, and hit a makeshift hospital where hundreds were receiving treatment.