They call the 18 or so miles of tunnels under the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol “the catacombs”, the original meaning of which is an underground complex of burial tombs. Right now the Azovstal tunnels are being used by Ukrainian fighters as a refuge. Civilians are being held there too. Many wounded lay in a makeshift hospital, and no doubt many dead bodies line the tunnels, suggesting catacombs is not an inappropriate description.
The complex is said to have a gruesome recent history, part of it being used as a torture chamber for Mariupol residents opposed to fascism. With faces of abject horror locals refer to the torture chamber as “The Pit”. Russian political commentator Franz Klintsevich described as “horrendous” the feelings of ordinary Mariupol people whenever “The Pit” is mentioned and further remarking on how those captured by the Ukrainian fascist Azov battalion urged others to avoid “The Pit” at all costs.
There are claims that Azovstal catacombs also host a NATO headquarters together with a biological weapons laboratory where human experiments have taken place. Klintsevich believes there are German, British, French, Polish and Canadian advisors and military personnel among the besieged.
What secrets does Azovstal hold?
According to a Palestinian reporter, Nabil Salem, there are not only foreign military personnel in the catacombs but NATO officers, members of the French foreign legion and some 240 foreign scientists of various nationalities. Salem is also an expert in “information warfare” and claims that western intelligence never had time to clean up its activities. He states that on the second day of the pre-emptive Russian special operation to liberate Donbas “all information about the Ukrainian biolabs of the United States disappeared from the website of the American embassy in Ukraine.” He added:
While Salem calls it Pit_40 an earlier report from Rusonline calls the facility Pit-404 “constructed and exploited by Metabiota”.
Metabiota is a company in which the Biden family have a vested interest. According to this report. from the Daily Mail, Hunter Biden, together with his colleagues, invested some $500,000 and introduced funding from other western sources. The alternative (I prefer real) media is abuzz with speculation at the depth of involvement, and Joe Biden has been looking very uncomfortable recently.
In another article Salem speculates that one of the reasons civilians may be held there is to prevent them from divulging where the NATO officers and generals are entrenched. However, recent footage shows that civilians are under guard and could have little idea of what is going on elsewhere. More likely they are there as a human shield – though some could be the wives and children of the fighters. (When the neo-Nazis blew up the Mariupol Drama Theatre a survivor says they took their own families with them which not surprisingly raised alarm for those locked in the cellar, and left to their fate).
Of the foreign nationals in the Azovstal catacombs 50 French officers are assumed to be entrenched there. Earlier helicopter attempts to rescue them by French special units ended in failure.
Since 21 April an offer has been available from Russia to Kiev-led fighters to lay down their arms and surrender – for which their lives will be spared – and for civilians held there to be evacuated. On Friday 29 April a family, husband, wife and child took advantage of the offer and on Saturday 30 April twenty civilians and five children under fourteen, walked free. Other reports say the children were under sixteen. It is expected more will leave the factory in the coming days. Indeed news is just in that some 100 employees of the factory have been released and reunited with their loved ones. Get ready next for the release of batches of soldiers pretending to be civilians.
For the Ukrainian military a newly appointed spokesman deputy commander, Svyatoslav Palamar, said Saturday that he hoped those they have started to release would be evacuated to Ukrainian territory. He could not understand why the wounded are not allowed to go there likewise. That, of course, is never going to happen.
There are thought to be some 300 wounded soldiers in the catacombs. On 22 April Palamar told BBC Russia there were more than 500 wounded. Medicines and medical products are allegedly in short supply, and some of the injured are lying around on stretchers for want of beds. They have been offered treatment in Russian hospitals and told that all the soldiers lives will be spared providing they surrender.
It seems though that their war-crimes weigh too heavily on their consciences. These, remember, were the soldiers, who according to reports, locked civilians in the cellar of the drama-theatre before bringing the building down and blaming it on Russian air-strikes. Setting them free to engage in similar escapades would be wantonly criminal when the whole purpose of the special military operation is to rid Ukraine of its Nazi war-criminals. The mindset of this battalion was captured by Shaun Walker, of The Guardian, at the beginning of Poroshenko’s eight-year war.
Perhaps more interesting than Palamar’s arguments, which are obviously made from a position of weakness, is what happened to the commanding officer who previously made statements on behalf of the Azov battalion? His name is Denys Prokopenko. He used to be the front man for the recordings now being made by Palamar. On 12 April a video was produced in which he accused Russia of using chemical weapons in another highly-suspicious false-flag event no doubt hoping to bring to Mariupol reinforcements from the US cavalry. All those affected have classic Covid-19 symptoms. And that is not a joke!
Is Prokopenko wounded? Has he been replaced for wanting to accept the Russian offer? Has he been replaced because of all the false-flag attempts that failed to get them rescued? Has he committed suicide hoping for others to follow the lead? Has he escaped from the tunnels into the town? Both Zelensky and Macron have, it is reported, ‘courageously’ ordered the Azov battalion soldiers and those with them not to leave the factory bowels on pain of death.
Pit_40, or Pit 404, has not yet been exposed. It is a matter of time. The pendulum swings back and forth. Soon the hour will strike.
Cover image is a graphic by John Lawson and may give some idea of the Azovstal layout.