Putin abandons plan to attack final Mariupol stronghold and declares 'victory' in city

21 April 2022, 09:10 | Updated: 21 April 2022, 14:03

Putin has claimed Mariupol has been 'liberated' after a brutal siege that lasted for weeks
Putin has claimed Mariupol has been 'liberated' after a brutal siege that lasted for weeks. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Vladimir Putin has declared victory over the Ukrainian city of Mariupol after his forces spent weeks reducing it to rubble in a horrific siege, claiming the city is 'liberated'.

The Russian President declared the "liberation" of the city Mariupol after his forces completely destroyed it during the two-month siege.

In a televised clip, Putin spoke with minister Sergei Shoigu, telling him to block off the Azovstal steel plant, where the last Ukrainian troops are holed up, "so that a fly can't get in".

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin that Russian forces now control the Ukrainian port city apart from the plant.

Putin cancelled plans to storm the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, where the final Ukrainian troops have been holding out against the Russian onslaught.

He said there was "no need to climb into these catacombs and crawl underground through these industrial facilities".

He called for his forces to "block off this industrial area so that not even a fly can escape".

It is thought there are around 2,000 Ukrainian troops holed up in the plant, which has become the last stand for Kyiv’s forces in the area.

Earlier, a top ally of Vladimir Putin claimed Moscow’s military would seize the city later today.

This story is being updated

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