Russia claims full control of urban area of Mariupol

An aerial view taken on April 12, 2022, shows the city of Mariupol. (ANDREY BORODULIN / AFP)

The entire urban area of Mariupol city in eastern Ukraine has been fully cleared of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and foreign mercenaries, the Russian military said Saturday.

The remnants of the resistant forces have been blocked inside the Azovstal iron and steel works plants, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a briefing. He said 1,464 Ukrainian servicemen have surrendered during the fighting in the city.

The remnants of the resistant forces have been blocked inside the Azovstal iron and steel works plants, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a briefing

As a key port city on the Azov Sea, Mariupol is witnessing one of the worst violence in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said Friday that its forces were still fighting against Russians in Mariupol after almost seven weeks since the city was besieged.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that the elimination of Ukrainian troops in Mariupol would put an end to any negotiations with Russia.  

Zelensky said about 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed in the conflict.

In an interview with CNN, Zelensky said that some 10,000 Ukrainian servicemen have been injured in the hostilities, with many of them receiving critical wounds.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced Saturday that 13 top officials of Britain, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have been barred from entering Russia.

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"This step was taken as a response to London's unbridled information and political campaign aimed at isolating Russia internationally, creating conditions for containing our country and strangling the domestic economy," the ministry said in a statement.

British Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace are also blacklisted among others.  

Also on Saturday, the Kiev City administration asked residents to delay their return to the capital city over security and humanitarian issues.

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Russian forces have renewed bombardment of Kiev, the city administration said in a statement on Telegram, urging people not to ignore the air raid sirens.

Besides, the traffic jams caused by the increased number of people, who return to Kiev, disrupt the deliveries of humanitarian aid and the work of emergency and communal services, the statement said.