Mariupol won’t be Kruty
(After I posted this blog this morning, news was reported about the discovery of mass graves with at least 20,000 bodies of Ukrainian men, women and children outside Mariupol. The huge grave was dug March 23-26, 2022. Eternal damnation on Russia, Russians and Putin.)
Kruty – a country railway station some about 80 miles northeast of Kyiv. It entered the storied, heroic pages of Ukrainian history because the Battle of Kruty took place there on January 29, 1918, a week after the government of Ukraine proclaimed the Fourth Universal, the nation’s proclamation of independence.
Russian Gen. Mikhail Artemyevich Muravyov was dispatched to put down this treasonous national act by Ukrainians. With the Ukrainian army fighting on the frontlines, the task of defending the capital and the country’s nascent independence was taken up by recruits and cadets. A collection of 300 dedicated Ukrainian patriots who stood their ground and fought to the last man. It seems as if fighting to the last ounce of blood is part of the Ukrainians’ genetic makeup – remember of cyborgs at the Donetsk airport.
Yuriy Butusov, the editor-in-chief of Censor.NET, in his Facebook page cited a message written last night by a friend in Mariupol who serves in the Azov Regiment.
Citing the lore of that famous Ukrainian town, Butusov’s friend wrote: “Thanks to them, Mariupol will never be a Russian victory. It will never be a victim and a place of Russian power, it is not Kruty. It will always be a city of Ukrainian victory and a symbol of Ukrainian invincible strength.”
Apparently he was not rejecting victory at all costs, even the cost of the defenders’ lives, he was rejecting the concept of defeat, conquest by the Russian invaders. Mariupol is another Ukrainian word in the centuries-long string of wars and battles that reaffirm Ukrainians’ aspiration to live freely, independently, sovereignly, democratically as far away from Russia as possible.
“The defenders of Mariupol have long since crossed the line of endurance and sacrifice – they have created new ones, and this is incredible in the 21st century,” Butusov wrote.
The port city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov was home to 400,000 people before Russia’s invasion. It has been under siege by Russian troops and under constant shelling for more than 50 days. The city has been reduced to rubble, amid questionable claims by Russia that it now has near complete control. Thousands of civilians are believed to have died and tens of thousands remain trapped in the city.
Mariupol surely symbolizes the spirit and perseverance of the Ukrainian soldiers as 200 or so of them are holed up in the bunkers of the Azov Steel mill. It should be noted that they’re not only defending their positions and the city, which are key along the road to Crimea, but they also safeguarding some 1,000 civilians and children hunkering down with them, avoiding Russian bombs.
President Zelenskyy, among others, has reiterated the soldiers’ pledge not to surrender.
“They (the Russians) say they are ready to let all the military go if they surrender. But they are not going to surrender. They don’t want to do so and this is why it is a complicated and tragic situation because the military don’t want to surrender. And without it, Russians are not ready to let them go,” Zelenskyy said. “When you can make an agreement with Russians to let them go, unarmed, but after, what they will do is shoot them dead. That is why no one trusts Russia now.”
Indeed, the Russians on numerous occasions have backed away from their pledges, resulting in Ukrainian bloodshed. Allowing the civilians to use a so-called green corridor for safe passage is as dangerous as swimming with sharks.
Zelenskyy added that Ukraine wanted to take away the wounded from Mariupol but Russian forces would not let them.
“We wanted to take away the wounded. We talked about it being a humanitarian mission. Give us the wounded back,” he said. “We even made plans for Turkey to be a mediator and get the wounded, civilians and the military. They don’t let them out because we understand Russia just wants to shoot them dead.”
Butusov’s friend continued: “I understand. We all understand everything and are ready for anything. In any case, we will not give up.”
For the free world, not giving up is an understandable concept. You stick to your guns. You don’t surrender like the Texans didn’t at the Alamo. However, knowing in advance that your fate is virtually doomed without a miracle is a frightening prediction.
“57 days of continuous fighting, air strikes and artillery shelling. Surrounded. In the basement, without water, without light, heat, without food. The enemy is 10 times bigger, the enemy has an absolute advantage in technology and ammunition, and he demolishes any shelter, any position. The nearest Ukrainian front is 100 km away (62 miles), across the steppes, and you can’t get out of here, you can’t take out the wounded. And they do not seek pity from the enemy. Every day, they skillfully find every opportunity to kill and destroy the occupiers, and inflict terrible losses on them.
“These people have long since crossed the line of endurance and sacrifice – they have created new ones, and this is incredible in the 21st century.”
Indeed, they have written new passages, lyrics, songs and anecdotes about their bravery, the heroism of Ukrainian soldiers. Enough with the epithets about the Azov battalion being a far right unit. That’s merely Russian propaganda to disparage Ukraine’s ongoing fight for freedom against Russia. The Azov unit’s soldiers are like all Ukrainians – defending the country, the nation and the little girl from Russian rapists.
“They showed what combat capability is. And it is worth mentioning that Azov is the only Ukrainian military unit that fully operates according to NATO standards in combat management and training, they operate under the US Combat Charter and MDMP (military decision-making process) combat management standards. Azov is the only military unit where the appeals and customs of Ukrainian nationalism of the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army that fought Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany and other communist armies in World War Two) model operate, and not the old Soviet-style translated procedures. By order of the Ukrainian command, they are fighting and dying in absolutely unfavorable conditions, faithful to the oath to the Ukrainian people.
“Thanks to them, Mariupol will never be a Russian victory. It will never be a victim and a place of Russian power, it is not Kruty. It will always be a city of Ukrainian victory and a symbol of Ukrainian invincible strength.
“Russia has many weapons, but Ukraine has something that Russians are not capable of – to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their people, to fight for honor, to fight when there is no strength, and only the will allows you to fight no matter what. Mariupol – this word now weighs a lot, explains a lot.
Because its defenders created a new modern epic. Because they create the history of our world. Because they are Ukrainians.”
The fall of Mariupol, the site of a merciless seven-week-old siege that has reduced much of the city to a smoking ruin, would be Moscow’s biggest victory of the war. But don’t count on it.