Ukraine Update, March 25

Russian forces reportedly took control of Mariupol’s city hall.

Days earlier, they controlled half or more of the city.

Most Ukrainian forces in the city either surrendered or are surrounded, their fate sealed.

Mariupol in Donbass is the largest Azov sea port city, an important industrial hub.

Its entire liberation is just a matter of time.

According to Russia’s National Defense Management Center chief Mikhail Mizintsev:

“We call(ed) on Ukrainian (forces and) foreign mercenaries to stop hostilities, surrender arms and leave Mariupol via humanitarian corridors agreed with the Ukrainian side to Kiev-controlled territories.”

“Safe exit is guaranteed to all who surrender arms.”

“In case Kiev…again betrays you and orders to die as martyrs, we call on those who care about their own lives.”

“You can do it. Surrender arms and leave the city by your own in groups.”

Separately he said that Nazified Ukrainian forces involved in crimes of war, against humanity and atrocities in Mariupol and elsewhere will be ferreted out, prosecuted and held accountable for what’s unforgivable.

According to the Donestsk News Agency on Friday, its freedom fighters — along with Russian help — “liberated and established total control over 132 towns,” ones illegally occupied by Ukrainian troops a month ago.

In the past 24 hours, 30 towns were liberated “without shots fired.”

Ukrainian forces controlling them laid down their arms and surrendered.

In recent days, thousands of Ukrainian forces surrendered, largely involuntary conscripts most likely.

On Friday, head of Russia’s General Staff Main Operational Directorate, Sergei Rudskoy, said the following:

“At present, the Ukrainian Air Force and the system of air defenses have been almost completely destroyed.” 

“The country’s naval forces have ceased to exist.”

“Individual (NATO) member states propos(ed) closure of airspace over Ukraine.”

If this step is taken, what’s highly unlikely ahead, “armed forces of the Russian Federation will immediately respond to such attempts in an appropriate manner.”

The above remark needs no elaboration.

Ukraine’s military and forces supporting it will be considered hostile and dealt with accordingly.

Rudskoy also revealed numbers of Russian casualties to date — 1,351 military personnel killed, another 3,825 injured.

Ukraine’s battered military fared far worse.

Its losses include around 14,000 killed, 16,000 others injured.

Over 7,000 Ukrainian forces involved in illegally occupying Donbass were eliminated, over half of Kiev’s force strength a month ago.

Replenishing them was largely prevented with Russian and Donbass freedom fighters in control of railway junctions and key roads.

Supplying them with weapons, munitions, fuel and food was almost entirely halted.

Most of their stockpiles were destroyed.

Foreign mercenaries in Ukraine are being eliminated.

High-precision strikes on positions where they’re located killed and injured 100s.

In the past seven days, no new arrivals were spotted entering Ukraine from abroad.

Rudskoy also explained that 23,000 foreign nationals from 37 countries volunteered to fight against Kiev’s illegal occupation of Donbass territory alongside DPR and LPR units.

At this time, about 7,000 Ukrainian forces — largely Nazified Azov, Aidar and Right Sector units — remain in Mariupol.

Areas they occupy are shrinking as as Russian forces advance.

Azov battalion extremists “are driving women and children out of basements, threatening them with weapons, and directing them toward advancing DPR units in order to impede their advance.” 

“This has become common practice for” these thugs, Rudskoy explained, adding:

Over 270 settlements controlled by Ukrainian forces a month ago were liberated by DPR and LPR fighters.

Separately, Russia’s US embassy refuted US/Western MSM fake news claims about forcible deportations of Ukrainians to Russia.

Nothing of the sort is going on, an issue I discussed earlier.

Phony claims otherwise are typical US/Western bald-faced Big Lies, their standard practice over truth and full disclosure.

On Friday, Russia’s Defense Ministry’s spokesman General Igor Konashenkov explained the following:

Russia’s special military operation is proceeding as planned.

Protecting civilians and nonmilitary infrastructure is prioritized.

High-precision Russian weapons continue to eliminate “Ukraine’s military infrastructure, equipment and weapons, ammunition stores and material assets of the troops.”

“Against the background of false statements about the desire for peace, Kiev (began) large-scale artillery preparations for the offensive of a shock group of troops drawn to the east of Ukraine with the support of (US/NATO supplied) aviation and missile systems.”

Russia’s special military operation prevented an imminent Kiev large-scale cross-border invasion of Donbass with intent to seize and control its territory entirely.

Russian forces “will continue to carry out the special military operation until all the tasks are completed.”

Ukraine attracted about 6,600 foreign mercenaries, including known terrorist elements.

They’re “be(ing) ruthlessly destroyed.”

Kiev has no remaining combat ready reserves.

Most aims of Russia’s operation were achieved.

Captured weapons, munitions and military equipment were given to DPR and LPR forces.

A Final Comment

According to Russia’s former president, current Security Council deputy chairman Dmitry Medvedev:

Vladimir Putin now demands unfriendly nations to pay for Russian oil, gas and other exports in rubles, not dollars or euros, saying:

Hegemon USA-dominated Western regimes “shut down correspondent accounts for our commercial banks.”

It “made settlements in dollars and euros impossible and disconnected (targeted Russian) banks on the sanctions list from SWIFT.”

Russia responded by demanding rubles in payments from their ruling regimes, its only logical alternative, Putin saying on Wednesday:

“I have decided to implement in the shortest possible time a set of measures to change the payments for – yes let’s start with this – for our natural gas supplied to the so-called unfriendly countries in Russian rubles, that is to stop using all compromised currencies for transactions,” adding:

“It doesn’t make sense to deliver our goods to the EU and the US and get paid in dollars and euros.”

Putin ordered Russia’s central bank to implement the policy in the coming week.

He also said that Russia will continue to supply gas in amounts and according to contractual agreements.

Payments in rubles over dollars and euros alone will change.

Unsurprisingly, unfriendly regimes in Germany and other countries cried foul.

German Chancellor Scholz and Italy’s Mario Draghi called Putin’s announcement a contractual breach.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the policy change “blackmail.”

Double standard hypocrisy needs no elaboration.

US and European vassal states are waging economic and financial war on Russia, a flagrant breach of international law by imposing illegal sanctions.

At the same time, they’re screaming foul play in response to Russia’s legitimate right to demand payment for its gas and other exports in its own currency.

Hopefully Putin will hold firm on this policy and implement other strong measures to protect Russia from hostile US/Western predations.

In relations with the US/West going forward, toughness in defense of Russia’s legitimate interests over Mr. nice guy is his only logical choice.

Read further at Stephen Lendman

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