Russian troops surrounded the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on Tuesday while cutting off Ukrainian access to the Sea of Azov, according to a TASS news agency report citing the Russian Defense Ministry.
Forces of Russian-backed separatists have reached the borders of the Ukrainian province of Donetsk and joined Russian troops, another agency, RIA, quoted the ministry as saying.
Separatist forces in Donetsk earlier said it had established two corridors for evacuation of Mariupol civilians, an indication that a grand attack on the key The Sea of Azov port may be imminent.
Mariupol came under heavy shelling on Tuesday, leaving the key southeastern ukrainian city without power car Electricity was cut off off.
Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that on On Tuesday, “the Russian army took out strikes with long-range high-precision weapons of the sea”, without specifying the target area.
He said that “two airfields and three air defense radars were hit” in Ukraine, adding that no civilian infrastructure was targeted.
Eduard Basurin, a spokesperson for separatists military mentioned on tuesday this calendar safety of movement is guaranteed until Wednesday in corridors.
Mariupol, an industrial center, is considered a key target for Russian forces for its economic value and son rentalwho would help Russia establishes land corridor between Crimea and Donbass region and the Russian mainland.
Russian troops had previously captured two other important towns near Azov, Melitopol and Berdyansk, and closed in on regional capital Zaporizhzhia from the south and southwest.
The Black Sea ports Kherson and Mykolaiv are currently under Russian control with ongoing clashes in the last.
These developments left the grand Harbor city Odessa, its suburbs Chernomorsk and the small port city Ochakiv as Kyivest only access to the seas. The three ports face Crimea occupied by Russia to the east and south and is threatened by the presence of Russian troops from the east in Mykolaiv and west of Transnistria, a Russian-backed breakaway region in Moldova.
Russian troops annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and used the region to launch attacks since Thursday, when Moscow began son invasion.
Pro-Kremlin separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine have pushed westward as part of the offensive.