Posting a picture of a destroyed Russian tank on Twitter, the Ukrainian Defence team took the opportunity to boast about its achievements on the battlefield and mock Russian military forces. They wrote: “A new T-90M tank, the pride of Russian tank building, was destroyed near Kharkiv.
“Ukraine Army turned the T-90M into scrap metal.
“A parade of Russian equipment is possible in Ukraine.
“A parade of destroyed armament.”
The Twitter post comes as the Kremlin said on Friday it did not know whether there would be a parade in Mariupol on May 9 to commemorate the Soviet Union’s victory in World War 2, but that the time for celebrating Victory Day there would come.
Russian forces say they have captured Mariupol despite ongoing resistance from Ukrainian forces in the Donbas region city’s Azovstal steel plant.
“The time will come to mark Victory Day in Mariupol,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a briefing on Friday, when asked about plans for May 9 in territory recently seized by Russian-backed forces.
Ukraine said a new attempt had begun on Friday to evacuate scores of civilians trapped in a ruined steel works in the city, after bloody fighting with Russian forces thwarted efforts to bring them to safety the previous day.
Mariupol, a strategic southern port on the Azov Sea, has endured the most destructive siege of the 10-week-old war and the sprawling Soviet-era Azovstal steel plant is the last part of the city still in the hands of holdout Ukrainian fighters.
UN-brokered evacuations of some of the hundreds of civilians who had taken shelter in the plant’s network of tunnels and bunkers began last weekend, but were halted in recent days by renewed fighting.
“The next stage of rescuing our people from Azovstal is under way at the moment. Information about the results will be provided later,” said Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential staff. He gave no more details.
Russia has turned its heaviest firepower on Ukraine’s east and south, after failing to take the capital Kyiv in the early weeks following its February 24 invasion.
The new front is aimed at limiting Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea, vital for its grain and metals exports, and linking Russian-controlled territory in the east to the Crimea Peninsula, seized by Moscow in 2014.
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It was not possible to independently verify either side’s statements about events on the battlefield.
In Mariupol, Ukraine’s general staff said Russian efforts to overrun the Azovstal plant had resumed, with air support.
An estimated 200 civilians remained trapped underground in the plant with little food or water.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow was prepared to provide safe passage for the civilians but reiterated calls for Ukrainian forces inside to disarm.
The Kremlin denies Ukrainian allegations that Russian troops stormed the plant in recent days and said humanitarian corridors were in place. Russia’s military promised to pause its activity for the next two days to allow civilians to leave.
Putin declared victory in Mariupol on April 21 and ordered his forces to seal off the plant.