A Marine commander sent a video message early Wednesday morning from the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on the shores of the Gulf of Azov. There, he claims, his forces may have only a few hours left.
In the video, which was sent to the BBC and other media, Major Serhiye Valina said his troops would not surrender. But she called for international assistance for the 500 wounded soldiers and hundreds of women and children.
The Major has taken refuge with civilians in the underground shelter of a steel factory.
“This is probably our last message to the world. It is possible we have only a few days or hours left,” said Major Valina.
“We call on world leaders to help us. They should arrange for us to go to a third country.”
Ukrainian fighters cornered by the Russian invasion are currently stationed at the Azvastal metallurgical plant in the town of Mariupol.
Mariupol has been under siege by Russian forces for more than a few weeks. Fierce fighting is going on over the occupation of the besieged city. The city has been the scene of the fiercest fighting in Ukraine so far, with most homes and infrastructure destroyed.
Major Valina, commander of the Ukrainian National Guard, said: “The number of enemy units is several times greater than ours.
Valina did not say how many Ukrainian troops were stationed at the plant at the moment. However, they still have a fighting spirit, he admitted. Valina added that the condition of the injured was critical.
Mariupol has been a strategic target for Russia since the invasion of Ukraine in February. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the BBC last week that he thought a Russian bombing had killed at least 20,000 people in the town of Mariupol.