MOSCOW, October 26. /TASS/. The Ukrainian armed forces are turning the city of Zaporozhye and its industrial zone into a stronghold similar to what they did in Mariupol and at the Azovstal steel complex, Zaporozhye Region acting Governor Yevgeny Balitsky said in a live broadcast on the Rossiya-24 TV Channel on Wednesday.
"They are turning Mariupol into something like Mariupol and there is quite a large number of mercenaries present there now. There has been information confirming that they [the Ukrainian military] are creating strongholds in industrial zones," the regional head specified.
Thousands of mercenaries are located in the city of Zaporozhye. They are mostly holed up at the Avtozaz auto factory, Balitsky stressed. "Thousands of them are over there, especially in the area of the Avtozaz factory on the left bank of the river," Balitsky revealed.
Vladimir Rogov, chairman of the We Are Together with Russia movement, earlier told TASS that actually all of the large enterprises in the Kiev-controlled part of the Zaporozhye Region had been turned into the Ukrainian army’s strongholds. These include the Zaporozhstal and Zaporozhkoks factories and the workshops of the aluminum plant where Russia’s strikes had eliminated Foreign Legion militants.
Kiev has lost control of 72-73% of the Zaporozhye Region. The Ukrainian military controls the city of Zaporozhye where almost a half of the regional population lives. Mariupol is not only the largest city on the coast of the Azov Sea, it is also a key metallurgical center in Donbass and a major seaport. The Battle of Mariupol began on February 25.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin on April 21 that the allied forces of the Russian army and militia forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic had liberated the city from the Ukrainian military. On May 20, Russian forces fully liberated the Azovstal steel complex where remnants of the Ukrainian battlegroup in Mariupol had been holed up.