The months-long siege ended as the final few hundreds Ukrainian troops defending a steel plant were “evacuated” from bunkers.
It has become one of the few and most significant wins for Russia over the course of its invasion into Ukraine, though absolutely devastating the city and the people who lived within it.
As their forces were driven back, thousands of soldiers held out inside the Azovstal steel plant. Russia’s Defense Ministry says it has captured a total of 2,439 Ukrainians from the plant which it is holding as prisoners.
Their ongoing fight tied up large numbers of Russian troops and resources, preventing their deployment elsewhere across the country.
With Mariupol secured, Russian forces launched a new offensive on remaining Ukrainian-held territory in Luhansk. Russia also seeks to tighten its grip on the Donetsk province.
The two areas make up the majority of Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region. Last month, Russia declared that capturing the region was its sole objective, and doing so would allow it to claim victory and end the ongoing war.
Ukraine’s leadership has vowed to keep fighting. The country is set to receive more aid from the US as President Biden signed a package of nearly $40 billion in financial and military support.