Mariupol: Key moments within the siege of town

Graphic: How Russian forces besieged Mariupol

The evacuation of Ukrainian troops from Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks, after two months inside, is the latest setback in Ukraine’s efforts to defend the port city.

Mariupol, in south-east Ukraine, has been encircled since the start of March and is now mostly under the control of Kremlin forces.

Control of Mariupol would give Russia a land bridge to Crimea and full control of the Sea of Azov, cutting off Ukraine’s maritime trade. It would also deliver a propaganda coup for Vladimir Putin.

However, the process of capturing the city has been slow and bloody.

2 March: The blockade begins

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,

Fires in Mariupol after Russian military operation, 3 March 2022

Just days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mariupol, a port city of some 430,000 people, found itself surrounded. From the start of Russia’s invasion on 24 February, Mariupol had come under relentless shelling.

By 2 March, Russian troops were several kilometres from the city on all sides, deputy mayor