Major Serhiy Volina, commander of the Ukrainian 36th Separate Marine Brigade, spoke by phone to CNN Tuesday night from the besieged city of Mariupol, asking for a third country to evacuate troops and civilians trapped at the Azovstal steel plant under intense Russian bombardment.
“I have a statement to the world,” Volina said. “This may be my last statement because we have a few days or even hours. We call on world leaders to apply extraction measures to the army of the Mariupol garrison and the civilians who are here with us at the factory. We ask you to take us to the territory of a third country and give us security.”
Ukrainian forces united in the besieged city around the huge Azovstal steel plant.
Ukrainian officials say hundreds of civilians are hiding in the basements of huge steel plants. A police officer in Mariupol told CNN that water and food supplies dwindle during the heavy bombing.
When asked how to facilitate the evacuation, Volina said: “This should be at the level of agreements. If we talk about practicality, for example, it could be a ship with helicopters that can transport us. Or an international humanitarian mission. It can come.” Towards us, he guarantees our security and directs us towards a state that adheres to these obligations.”
Volina described the situation at the factory as “critical”, with a large number of wounded soldiers and limited medical care.
“We are completely surrounded,” he said. There are about 500 soldiers wounded, and it is very difficult to provide them with medical care. They literally rot away. There are civilians in the area. They also suffer from explosions and explosions on and next to them. [the Russians] Using heavy aircraft bombs against us and bombing us with artillery.”
“It happens all the time. The city is in ruins. Groups of enemies outnumber us by dozens of times, we have complete advantage in air, artillery, equipment and manpower. We fight to the end but we have very little time left.” I continued.
The Ukrainian commander estimated that “hundreds of civilians” are hiding at the plant site.
“We appeal to absolutely all world leaders: who will be able to make such commitments and who will be able to agree to such an action in the short term,” he said. We know that there are some developments and we are in talks with the Turkish side to act as a guarantor. Perhaps the United States, because we think this is a very powerful country with a strong leader, [President Joe] Biden and that he can solve this problem himself in the shortest possible time. Or this problem can be solved in a short time with his help.”
Volina declined to comment on the number of soldiers deployed in Azovstal.
“When we hear the world and when we hear from world leaders, we very much hope that the extraction procedures will be carried out, and everyone will understand the quantitative makeup of the people who were in captivity,” he said.
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