Advertisement

Ukraine ‘temporarily’ loses access to Sea of Azov as Russia tightens grip on Mariupol

Click to play video: 'Hundreds still trapped under rubble of bombed Mariupol theatre' Hundreds still trapped under rubble of bombed Mariupol theatre
WATCH: Hundreds still trapped under rubble of bombed Mariupol theatre – Mar 18, 2022

Ukraine’s defense ministry said late on Friday it lost access to the Sea of Azov “temporarily” as invading Russian forces were tightening their grip around the Sea’s major port of Mariupol.

“The occupiers have partially succeeded in the Donetsk operational district, temporarily depriving Ukraine of access to the Sea of Azov,” Ukraine’s defense ministry said in a statement.

The ministry did not specify in its statement whether Ukraine’s forces have regained access to the Sea.

Read more: Ukraine saves 130 people from destroyed Mariupol theatre as rescue efforts continue

Russia said on Friday its forces were “tightening the noose” around Mariupol, where an estimated 80% of the city’s homes had been damaged and some 1,000 people may still be trapped in makeshift bomb shelters beneath a destroyed theater.

Story continues below advertisement

Mariupol, with its strategic location on the coast of the Sea of Azov, has been a target since the start of the war on Feb. 24 when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched what he called a “special military operation.”

The city lies on the route between the Russian-annexed peninsula of Crimea to the west, and the Donetsk region to the east, which is partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

Russia claimed as early as March 1 that its forces had cut off the Ukrainian military from the Sea of Azov.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

Click to play video: 'Ukrainians hold the line as Russia intensifies southern assault' Ukrainians hold the line as Russia intensifies southern assault
Ukrainians hold the line as Russia intensifies southern assault – Mar 17, 2022

Sponsored content