Any NATO means of transport with weapons and ammunition destined for the Ukrainian Army that arrives in that country will be destroyed, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu warned today.
“The US and its NATO allies continue to supply Ukraine with weapons. I want to emphasize that any transport from the Atlantic Alliance that arrives in the country with weapons or means for the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be seen by us as a legitimate target.” , he noted during a meeting, according to Interfax.
The Russian Defense Minister said that “the Russian Armed Forces continue the special military operation” and “at the moment, together with the militias of the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, they are expanding control of the territories” of both regions.
Shoigu indicated that the Russian military “take measures to guarantee the safety of the population.”
“Humanitarian corridors are opened daily and ceasefires are declared to ensure the safe evacuation of civilians from combat zones,” he explained.
In addition, he pointed out that the Russian military offers humanitarian aid to civilians living in cities controlled by the Russian Army.
“A total of 967 humanitarian actions have been carried out, in the framework of which 279 localities received 17,567 tons of cargo,” he explained.
The minister assured that “in the liberated territories of the people’s republics of Lugansk and Donetsk and Ukraine, normal life is being restored. Including Mariupol, the largest industrial and transport hub in the Sea of Azov. It is under the control of the Russian Army.”
Regarding Ukrainian fighters and civilians blocked at the Azovstal steelworks in the port city of Mariupol, he said the area is “plugged up” by Russian troops.
“In accordance with the order of the Supreme Commander (President Vladimir Putin), the rest of the fighters who are in the Azovstal industrial zone are blocked along the entire perimeter of this territory,” he said.
Shoigú stressed that the detained combatants ignored “repeated proposals (…) to release civilians and lay down their weapons with the guarantee of saving their lives and receiving dignified treatment in accordance with the norms of international law.”
“We keep trying,” he said.
Despite efforts by the United Nations and the Red Cross to evacuate civilians from the steel mill, the UN confirmed on Tuesday that only 101 people, including children and the elderly, have been evacuated from Azovstal.
In addition, 58 civilians who were in the Manhush district, on the outskirts of Mariupol, were evacuated, most of whom have reached a safe area in Zaporizhia.