Russia is massing around 50,000 troops in the city of Mariupol

Ukrainian officials in Mariupol announced that Russian forces had deployed around 50,000 troops to the occupied city in southern Ukraine, which saw heavy fighting in the early stages of the war.

According to Petro Andryushchenko, a key adviser to the Ukrainian municipal administration of Mariupol in exile, part of these troops belong to “new units that are in the formation and preparation phase,” Ukrinform news agency reported.

Andriushchenko said the Russian armed forces could collect soldiers in Mariupol and then deploy them to active battlegrounds, including the city of Zaporizhia in the south of the country.

Ukraine has already noted that Russia is turning Mariupol, a coastal city next to the Sea of ​​Azov that was captured and virtually destroyed by Russia in May 2022, into a sort of military logistics hub.

From Mariupol, Moscow can direct its forces to other parts of Ukrainian territory, where the Ukrainian armed forces are “weak,” Andryuchenko says.

The port city of Mariupol has become one of Ukraine's main battlegrounds since the invasion of Russian forces that maintain control of Ukraine's southern part of the Sea of ​​Azov.

In the second half of last year, Ukraine launched a large-scale counteroffensive aimed at liberating territory up to the Sea of ​​Azov, but met strong resistance from Russian forces' defensive lines and territorial gains were modest.

The Russian military offensive on Ukrainian territory, launched on February 24, 2022, has plunged Europe into what is considered the most serious security crisis since World War II (1939-1945).

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