How many UK military personnel are in Mariupol?

The largest steel factory in Ukraine, Azovstal, in Mariupol, is under siege. It is where the last of the Azov battalion soldiers (and military advisors) have retreated. This factory is owned by oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov, who has property in London.

Akhmetov buys favours from whoever is in power in Ukraine. He funded pro-Soviet president, Viktor Yanukovich, before the US-led coup which, illegally, overthrew him. Today he is funding president Vladimir Zelensky, a puppet of the west.

Supplies, military and food, are allegedly being brought by helicopter to those entrapped in the factory. The helicopters then try to return carrying the sick and wounded. It is claimed most of them do not make it.

Helicopter survivors explain their missions

Reports say that two helicopters were shot down, one into the sea, and that there were three survivors from the other. Two of the survivors, though injured, have given video statements about the evacuation attempts. Southfront contains both interviews, one from Senior Lieutenant of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine with the call sign “Belmak”, the other from the Azov battalion, Dmitry Lobinsky, with the call sign “Odessit”.

Senior Lieutenant “Belmak” giving a statement

Both men confirm that there were four (or five) helicopters in the mission to deliver supplies and this was not the first time they had done this. Southfront raises a question mark over the number of helicopters getting through Russian air-defence systems.

Who is still in the Azovstal factory?

Last night Russia Today‘s reporter, Murad Gazdiev, talked of helicopter missions from which “several” escaped though most were shot down. He finished his report by stating “the window of opportunity is closing ever day” and “the chances are high that soon we shall find out just who it is that Ukraine and its allies are so desperate to evacuate.”

The carefully-worded statement follows an earlier claim that English-speaking voices had been heard in radio-communications. Military advisors were sent from the UK to Ukraine in the middle of last year but reports of this quickly vanished from the internet.

A Russian State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov, interviewed by RT, when questioned about French, British, Belgium and Swedish officers in the Azovstal factory said: “Yes, it’s no big secret that there are NATO instructors in the Azovstal and Illych factories. We don’t really count their nationalities. The instructors are with a brigade of marines.”

About communications with the factory he said that Chechen, Ramzan Akhmatovich (presumably Kadyrov) was in touch with them, suggesting there may be Chechen fighters in the factories. His advice was not to try and escape by helicopter because the Russian air-defence systems were the best in the world. “Much better to wave the flag.”

When asked “What colour?” he responded: “White, what’s better?”

Although claims have been made that the Azovstal factory has been very badly damaged from shelling it is likely the Russians will wish to preserve as much of this as possible.

Is deputy mayor Orlov with the Azov battalion in the factory? From 2000 to 2012 he worked at the factory and went form being an engineer to being a top specialist in information technology. He must know the factory well.

There has been nothing on MSM from him for a long time – not to my knowledge since he allegedly took a photograph of the smoking bombed-out drama-theatre which it was claimed the Russians had bombed, but the mass murder later turned out to have been done by the retreating Azov forces.

It could be a protracted stand-off from the Russian allied forces. Two thirds of Ukraine’s helicopters have been destroyed. Are they going to put the remainder to the Russian air defence systems to protect whoever is in there?

The cover image is of the inside of Azovstal when it was producing  5.3mn tonnes of steel per annum.

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