Broken and burned cars in a parking lot near a residential building in Mariupol (Picture: Anatoliy Zhdanov/Kommersant/Sipa USA/Alamy Stock Photo).
Ukraine

Ukraine: Mariupol continues to hold off Russian attacks against the odds

The resistance has thrown Moscow’s plans into disarray, six weeks into the Russian invasion.

Broken and burned cars in a parking lot near a residential building in Mariupol (Picture: Anatoliy Zhdanov/Kommersant/Sipa USA/Alamy Stock Photo).

The key Ukrainian port of Mariupol continues to hold out in the face of Russian attacks - a symbol of staunch resistance against all odds.

Six weeks since Russia invaded, Ukrainian troops are continuing to fight Russian forces in ferocious battles in the ruins of the former bustling city on the Sea of Azov coast.

The resistance has thrown Moscow's plans into disarray, tying up their forces and delaying the beginning of a planned Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine's industrial heartland, Donbas.

The Kremlin hopes an attack in the east could reverse the battlefield fortunes for Russia after a humiliating failure of its attempt to quickly storm the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

The city of Mariupol has been high on the objectives for Moscow. Its capture would enable Russia to set up a land corridor to Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. It would also deny Ukraine a major port and prized industrial assets.

Industrial plants have been heavily damaged by the ferocious Russian bombardment that has flattened much of Mariupol, smashing homes, hospitals and other public buildings and killing thousands.

Last month's Russian air strike on the city's drama theatre killed around 300 people. The building was being used as a shelter at the time with the word 'children' printed in Russian in huge white letters on the pavement outside.