Highlights

  • Russia continues its siege of Ukraine's Mariupol
  • Mariupol has been under bombardment for at least 3 weeks
  • Mariupol is the biggest port on the Azov Sea

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Explained: Why is Russia continuously attacking Ukraine’s Mariupol

Mariupol, a strategic port on the Azov Sea, has been under bombardment for at least three weeks and become a symbol of the horror of Russia's war in Ukraine.

Russian forces have pushed deeper into the besieged and battered city of Mariupol, where heavy fighting shut down a major steel plant and local authorities pleaded for more Western help.

Mariupol, a strategic port on the Azov Sea, has been under bombardment for at least three weeks and become a symbol of the horror of Russia's war in Ukraine.

Local authorities have said the siege has cut off food, water and energy supplies, and killed at least 2,300 people, some of whom had to be buried in mass graves.

Also Read | What's Kinzhal missile, Russia's newest weapon used in war? Faster than sound, nuclear-capable

The fall of Mariupol, the scene of some of the war's worst suffering, would mark a major battlefield advance for the Russians, who are largely bogged down outside major cities more than three weeks into the biggest land invasion in Europe since World War II.

Mariupol is of great strategic importance to Russia.

If the Russians capture Mariupol, they will have control over one of Ukraine’s biggest ports.

It will also connect Crimea, a peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 and the Russian-backed separatists regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

As of now, Crimea is connected to the Russian mainland only by a single bridge, having a land connection via Mariupol would make it easier for them to move goods and people.

One of Europe's biggest steel plant damaged in Russian shelling | Ukraine war

It will also give Russia control over the Ukrainian coast of Azov Sea.

Mariupol is home to Illich Steel & Iron Works and Azovstal, two steel factories that account for a large share of Ukrainian steel production.

Taking control of the biggest port on Azov Sea and important industries would put economic pressure on the Ukrainian govt

In May 2014 too Mariupol was caught between the Russia-Ukraine conflict. When a war broke out in the separatist region of Donbas, Ukrainian forces were chased out of the city by Russia. It was recaptured by Ukraine a month latter.

Russia-Ukraine war: what are humanitarian corridors?

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