Major Serhii Volyna, commander of Ukraine’s 36th Separate Marine Brigade, spoke to CNN by phone from the besieged city of Mariupol on Tuesday night and called for a third country to evacuate troops and civilians trapped in the Azovstal steelworks under heavy Russian bombardment.
“I have a statement to the world,” Volyna said. “This may be my last statement, as we only have a few days or even hours left. We call on world leaders to apply the extraction procedure to the military of the Mariupol garrison, to the civilians who are with us here at We ask you to lead us to the territory of a third country and ensure our safety.”
Ukrainian forces inside the besieged city have coalesced around the massive Azovstal steelworks.
Ukrainian officials said hundreds of civilians were sheltering in the basements of the huge steel plant. A Mariupol police official told CNN that food and water supplies were dwindling amid heavy shelling.
Asked how an evacuation could be facilitated, Volyna replied: “It should be at the level of agreements. If we are talking about practical application, it could be a ship with helicopters, for example, which could pick us up. Or an international humanitarian mission that can come to us and guarantee our safety and accompany us on the path to the state that will make such commitments.”
Volyna described the situation at the factory as “critical”, with a large number of wounded soldiers and limited medical care.
“We are completely surrounded,” he said. “There are about 500 wounded servicemen, it is very difficult to get medical care to them. They are literally rotting. There are civilians on the territory. They are also suffering from explosions, blasts on them, next to them . [the Russians] use heavy aerial bombs against us and strike with artillery.”
“It happens all the time. The city is destroyed. The enemy groups are tens of times more numerous than us, they have a complete advantage in air, artillery, equipment, manpower We are fighting until the end, but we have very little time left,” he said. continued.
The Ukrainian commander estimated that there were “hundreds of civilians” sheltering on the territory of the factory.
“We appeal to absolutely all world leaders: whoever can make such commitments, whoever can succeed in the short term in agreeing on such a procedure,” he said. “We know that there are developments and talks with the Turkish side that they act as a guarantor. Probably the United States, because we believe it is a very powerful state with a leader strong, [President Joe] Biden, and that he can personally solve this problem as soon as possible. Or this problem can be solved with his help in a short time.”
Volyna declined to comment on the number of military resisting Azovstal.
“If the world hears us, if world leaders hear us, we very much hope so, and the extraction procedure will be carried out, then everyone will understand the quantitative composition of the people who were in captivity,” he said. declared.