May 18, 2022

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It’s three in the evening in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to know

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Aristovich said that after a “risky maneuver”, the remaining defenders of the besieged port city of Mariupol were able to unite.

On Wednesday, Aristovich said that “in Mariupol, as a result of a risky maneuver, units of the 36th Independent Marine Brigade stormed [join] Azov regiment.

Both units engaged in a last-ditch effort to resist a Russian attack on the city that lasted more than a month.

“This is what happens when officers do not lose their heads, but firmly maintain command and control of the troops,” Aristovich said.

CNN cannot independently confirm the details of the operation. Members of the Marine unit released a video statement on Tuesday saying they would hold out “to the end” despite Russian forces being surrounded and supplies running out.

On his Facebook account, Aristovich said that the Azov battalion “received significant reinforcements … The 36th Brigade avoided defeat and got additional serious chances, in fact, got a second chance.”

Aristovich claimed that “the defenders of the city, now together, seriously strengthened their defensive zone.”

The city’s defenders, where about 100,000 civilians remain trapped amid widespread devastation, are fighting for control of parts of the port and the Azovstal Factory, a steel mill located in the eastern suburbs of Mariupol.

The Russian military claimed in a statement on Wednesday that 1,026 Ukrainian marines – including 162 officers and 47 women – surrendered near the Ilyich Iron and Steel Plant in Mariupol, a claim that cannot be verified.

Russia focused extensive propaganda efforts around the Battle of Mariupol, claiming to have captured key positions in the city, even as Ukrainian forces continued to hold out.

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Some basic information: An independent analysis of the situation in Mariupol published on Sunday by the Institute for the Study of War estimated that the defense of Mariupol had reached a critical stage.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “Tens of thousands” died in Mariupola number that cannot be independently verified.