Ukraine has praised its troops defending the port city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov despite the encirclement of Russian forces, saying their efforts were “saving” the capital Kyiv and other major cities.
Russia “no longer dreams of seizing kyiv, is out of breath in the Chernihiv and Sumy regions and is receiving painful blows near Kharkiv, in the Mykolaiv, Kherson and Lugansk regions”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said on Monday. Defense Oleksii Reznikov in a statement.
“The defenders of Mariupol played a huge role in destroying the enemy’s plans and improving our defense,” he added.
“Thanks to their superhuman dedication and courage, tens of thousands of lives across Ukraine have been saved,” Reznikov said. “Today Mariupol saves kyiv, Dnipro and Odessa.”
Russian shelling of residential and public buildings in Mariupol has, according to various estimates, claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and fighters.
Without providing numbers, Reznikov conceded that “we are taking losses” as Russian troops seek to surround and capture Kyiv and other major cities to the north, east and south.
Russian forces suffered much higher casualties and casualties, he said.
Since the February 24 invasion, “our soldiers have shot down 100 planes and 120 helicopters, destroyed nearly 500 tanks and 1,500 Russian armored fighting vehicles,” he said.
“That’s why Russia is gathering mercenaries all over the world and making desperate attempts to push Belarusian troops” into Ukraine, he added.
Ukrainian officials claimed over the weekend that Russia’s military casualties had risen to 14,700, including dead, wounded and prisoners of war.
Ukraine’s claims could not be independently verified.