Ukraine War: A rebel leader in eastern Ukraine told Russian state television yesterday that Russian-backed forces aim to besiege Mariupol by the end of the day.

Ukraine war: Mariupol has been under attack since Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine last week (File)

Kyiv:

Region chief Pavlo Kirilenko said on Tuesday that power has been cut in Ukraine’s main city of Mariupol on the Azov Sea following attacks by Russian forces.

“Mariupol and Volnovakha are ours!” Kirilenko wrote on Facebook. “Two cities are under enemy pressure but they are holding.

“In Mariupol, power lines have been cut and the city is without electricity.”

Both cities lie between an area occupied by Russian-backed separatists and the Crimean peninsula occupied by Moscow in 2014, and Russian forces are working to join the two areas.

Mariupol, an important port city, has been under attack by between 400,000-500,000 people since Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine last week. Volnovakha has a population of around 20,000.

Denis Pushilin, a rebel leader in eastern Ukraine who heads the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, told Russian state television on Monday that Russian-backed forces are aiming to besiege the city by the end of the day.

“Today’s task is to directly surround Mariupol,” he said on the Rossiya 24 network, according to news agencies.

A military leader in the separatist area said the army would set up two civilian corridors to evacuate civilians from the city.

Mariupol was occupied by pro-Moscow separatists when fighting with Ukrainian forces began in 2014 following historic street demonstrations that toppled the pro-Kremlin president.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by UttarPradeshLive.Com staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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