Putin declares offensive in Mariupol a 'success,' tells troops to hold off storming final stronghold
Kyiv has desperately been attempting to evacuate soldiers and civilians from the port city under siege for weeks
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared military "success" in the Ukraine city of Mariupol, but has instructed his forces to hold off storming the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance.
During a televised meeting at the Kremlin on Thursday, Putin discussed the matter with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who told him that the large Azovstal steel plant was "securely blocked" while the rest of the port city was "liberated."
Putin told Shoigu that the Russian military should hold off on launching a final ground assault to preserve the lives of Russian soldiers and instead focus on installing a strong blockade.
Ukrainian government leaders have desperately been attempting for weeks to get soldiers and remaining civilians out of Mariupol, as they remain trapped without much food, water or aid.
The situation in Mariupol is partially what prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to call upon Western allies for increased supplies of weapons.
On Thursday morning, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would respond to the call with an additional $800 million shipment of ammunition, tactical drones and howitzers.
"We don’t know how long this war will last, but as we approach the two-month mark, here’s what we do know, Putin has failed to achieve his grand ambitions on the battlefield," said the president Thursday morning.
The U.S. has given $3.4 billion in military support to Ukraine since the beginning of the war, and $4 billion since Biden assumed office. Next week, the president said he will make an additional request to Congress in order to "keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption."