The besieged city of Mariupol was named a Hero City of Ukraine. In this case, Hero status comes at a very high cost.
The road to the Azovstal steel and iron plant is littered with the dead bodies of civilians. And they have been there for days. This is the route that an estimated 2,500 people took to escape from the constant Russian bombing.
Last stand in Mariupol
The ruins of the old steel mill have become the Alamo of Ukraine.
The Azovstal plant is a massive industrial complex that stretches more than 4 square miles along the southeast edge of the city. This is where the last defenders of Mariupol are making their last stand.
The Russian military sent a message days ago, ”Surrender or die.”
They are starving and freezing. A number of wounded civilians are with them. And they are surrounded by the Russians. But they show no signs of surrendering.
And they are still hoping for a miracle.
The Mariupol police chief says they are ready “for fierce resistance.”
“We’re surrounded; they’re bombing us with everything they can,” said a Ukrainian soldier named Gasim. “Our only plan is for the blockade to be broken by our forces so that we can get out of here”
In March, 2022, by decree President Volodymyr Zelenskyy awarded Mariupol the modern title of Hero City of Ukraine.
In a public broadcast he said, “I decided to mark our Hero Cities with a special title that already existed. When another invasion was defeated. But a similar invasion. Another invasion. But no less cruel invasion.”
The Ukrainian record is clear “The Siege of Mariupol is an ongoing engagement between Russian along with DPR forces against Ukraine which began on 24 February 2022, as part of the Eastern Ukraine offensive.
The extent of the conditions of the siege of the city has been compared to the Siege of Leningrad during WWII.
Even the title Hero City was first used in Soviet Russia. It was an honor bestowed on the brave Russian cities that withstood the Nazi invasion in World War II.
The irony that Putin continues to claim he is ridding the world of Nazi’s is not lost on the wounded, the starving, and the freezing citizens of the Hero City. And the Russian forces are echoing the atrocities that were committed by Nazi’s in this city.
It is not known how many, if any, of the people at the steel plant will survive. What is certain that their fierce courage and defiance will live forever.