Pro-Russian Forces in Control of Mariupol, Ukraine

May 9 was Victory Day in Ukraine, but there was nothing to celebrate in Mariupol where people were killed in clashes between pro-Russians and pro-Ukrainians. As of Saturday morning, the important port city is under the control of the pro-Russian forces.

The Ukrainian army managed to regain the police headquarters, which left two to twenty people dead. After the battle, the army left and pro-Russians took over the city. Citizens raged against the army:

Local people voiced their fury with the security forces, accusing them of killing unarmed civilians. “Bullets were fired into our yard,” said Nadezhda Dolgova, 73, who lives near the police headquarters, now reduced to a ruined, blackened shell. “Tell me, do I look like a terrorist?” At least one armoured vehicle was abandoned by the army on Friday.

Triumphant pro-Russians set it ablaze on Saturday, causing its remaining ammunition to explode, leading to false reports of more fighting.

One of the dead included Mariupol state Traffic Inspectorate Viktor Sayenko. The Mariupol confirmed the loss early Saturday morning:

"Concerning casualties among the personal staff, to out [sic] certain knowledge chief of the State Traffic Inspectorate [in Mariupol] Viktor Sayenko, as well as worker of the patrol service battalion Mykhailo Yermolayenko, died," the press service of the Mariupol town police department of the Main Directorate of Ukraine's Interior Ministry in Donetsk region reported on Saturday.

Journalists in Mariupol documented the destruction Saturday morning:

Pro-Russians in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are holding a referendum on Sunday, May 11. Ukraine and the West said the referendum is illegal and will not recognize the vote. Russian President Vladimir Putin asked the forces to delay the referendum, but the men in charge said no. 


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