Putin claims Mariupol win


Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in the battle for Mariupol on Thursday, even as he ordered his troops not to risk more losses by storming the giant steel plant containing the last pocket of Ukrainian holdouts in the city.

Instead, he directed his forces to seal off the Azovstal plant “so that not even a fly comes through.” Russian troops have bombarded the southeastern port city since the early days of the conflict and largely reduced it to ruins.

Top officials have repeatedly claimed it was about to fall, but Ukrainian forces have stubbornly held on. – AP


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