It’s 3 p.m. in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to know
Ukraine’s presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said after a “risky manoeuvre” the last remaining defenders of the besieged port city of Mariupol were able to join forces.
Arestovych said on Wednesday that “in Mariupol, as a result of a risky maneuver, units of the 36th Independent Marine Brigade broke through [join] the Azov regiment.”
Both units have been involved in a last-ditch effort to resist a Russian offensive against the city that has lasted well over a month.
“That’s what happens when officers don’t lose their heads, but firmly maintain leadership and control over the troops,” Arestovych said.
CNN cannot independently confirm the details of the operation. Members of the naval unit released a video statement on Tuesday saying they would hold out “to the end” despite being surrounded by Russian forces and running low on supplies.
On his Facebook account, Arestovych said that the Azov regiment “received significant reinforcements…the 36th Brigade avoided defeat and received additional serious opportunities, actually received a second chance”.
Arestovych claimed that “the city’s defenders, now together, have seriously strengthened their defensive perimeter”.
The city’s defenders, where around 100,000 civilians are trapped amid widespread devastation, have been struggling to hold parts of the port and Azovstal, a huge steel factory located on the eastern outskirts of Mariupol.
The Russian military claimed in a statement on Wednesday that 1,026 Ukrainian marines – including 162 officers and 47 women soldiers – surrendered near the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, an allegation that has not been verified.
Russia has focused an intense propaganda effort on the battle for Mariupol, claiming to have taken key positions in the city, though Ukrainian forces continued to hold out.
Some background: An independent analysis of the situation in Mariupol, released Sunday by the Institute for War Studies, found that Mariupol’s defenses had reached a critical stage.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “tens of thousands” died in Mariupol, a number that cannot be independently verified.