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Marines defending Mariupol are running out of ammunition: “Only hand-to-hand combat from here on.”

Monday, 11 April 2022, 15:55
Marines defending Mariupol are running out of ammunition: “Only hand-to-hand combat from here on.”

Iryna Balachuk — Monday, 11 April 2022, 15:55

The "Rear Admiral Mykhailo Bilynskiy" 36th Independent Marine Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reports that the Brigade, deployed in Mariupol, is running out of ammunition, the situation is very difficult; there may be a final battle on 11 April, and there has been no support from, or even contact with the authorities.

Source: "Rear Admiral Mykhailo Bilynskiy" Marine Brigade, on Facebook; Novynarnia;  Ukrainska Pravda’s sources in the intelligence community

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Direct quote from the Brigade: "Since the war started, we have defended Mariupol for 47 days... We have maintained its defence honourably and achieved the impossible. But all resources run out.

The infantry has all been killed, and it is the gunners, anti-aircraft gunners, signallers, drivers, cooks, and even the orchestra who are fighting. They’re dying, but they’re fighting. We’re slowly nearing the end.

Wise generals are advising us to take ammunition from the enemy. Evidently those Soviet armchair warriors haven’t died out, and many people will die in vain because of them. There have been chances. There have been opportunities, but they were missed because of cowardice in the upper echelons.

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No one wants to have anything more to do with us because we’ve been written off. The last battle will probably be today, as there is no ammunition left. There will only be hand-to-hand combat from here on. There will be death for some and captivity for others."

Details: The marines report that, since the fighting began, they have received one lot of 50,122 shells, 20 mines, some next generation light anti-tank weapons, and a Starlink terminal donated by Elon Musk.

Without ammunition, the marines have been unable to defend themselves. The enemy has gradually pushed them back to the Azovstal plant, "surrounded them, pinned them down under fire, and is now trying to exterminate them."

The 36th Brigade comments that one option would have been to bring in reserves to reinforce and continue the defence. There were also ways in which the Brigade could have broken through to reach other Ukrainian troops. This was reported to the "Vostok" tactical force, which even started to plan an operation, but "their senior staff wrapped it up."

The Joint Forces Operation was informed of the dire situation. They said: "Hang in there, we’re working on it." They promised a helicopter which never arrived.

The marines add that they spoke to the commander-in-chief, who promised that the blockade would be lifted, and to the President, who "guaranteed either a political or military solution to the situation."

Now half of the remainder of the Brigade is wounded, and the marines do not know what will happen next.

According to Novynarnia, the text was written by a top-ranking officer in the 36th Brigade. It is not an official statement of the Brigade’s position, but a "letter from a marine" through whom contact was made with the Brigade and who describes the actual situation faced by the marines defending Mariupol.

Contact with the Brigade’s press officer has been lost, but the marine running the Brigade’s Facebook page has confirmed that it has not been hacked. The officer asked that the appeal be published anonymously after he became unable to make contact.

Ukrainska Pravda’s sources in the intelligence community have confirmed that the situation in Mariupol is extremely difficult and that attempts to lift the blockade have failed.

Ukrainska Pravda is attempting to discover what measures the authorities are taking to address the issue of defenders in Mariupol. We have approached deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar and presidential press secretary Serhii Nykyforov but they have not yet responded to our calls and messages.

For reference: In 2014, the men of the "Rear Admiral Mykhailo Bilynskiy" 36th Marine Brigade kept their oath despite their commander’s treachery. They withdrew from Crimea and continued to defend Ukraine.

Later, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, said that the authorities are doing everything possible and impossible to defend Mariupol.

Background: 

  • On 9 April, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that the defenders of Mariupol are up against 10,000 aggressors. If they succeed in holding Mariupol, the invaders will not be able to get to the east of Ukraine.
  • On 10 April, Mariupol defenders and soldiers from the Azov Regiment said that no one had contacted them or picked up the phone for over two weeks. 
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy believes that the fight for the east of Ukraine, and Mariupol in particular, will determine the course of the war – and if the Ukrainian Armed Forces are defeated, the Russians may leave the negotiations and reoccupy the liberated territories.

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