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Oleksandr Pavliuk explains why we failed to hold Mariupol

Feb 21, 2024

At the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the current commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Pavliuk, was then in charge of the JFO. It was under his leadership that settlements in the east of the country were defended. The general explained why the occupiers eventually managed to take Mariupol.


According to Pavliuk, the Ukrainian groups that were defending Mariupol were attacked from the west.

"A powerful enemy group came to the rear of our units. Ukrainian forces managed to regroup. However, the available units and means were no longer able to stop "the armada that came at us," the general recalls.

The Russians cut the main road, and our group was surrounded.

We immediately began to create forces to break through this corridor. I withdrew the 95th Brigade, regrouped it, and began to prepare it for a counterattack. But we saw that for three days troops had been moving in from the west incessantly to create a line so that we could do nothing,

- Pavlyuk said.

Indeed, the group that was in Mariupol tied up all Russian forces, and this actually saved the South from being completely cut off from the Black Sea.

The general says that in addition to the attack from the west, the enemy also struck from the northeast. "The Russian group in Kharkiv hit our units in the back through Izyum.

I had to close this gap they found to hit us in the back with the whole team. The brigade did a great job. The Russian group was stopped. The enemy, having suffered losses, stopped and started a positional defense,

- Pavliuk recalled.

Further, according to the military, since mid-March, Ukraine has managed to stabilize the front line and move to positional defense. The enemy could no longer make major breakthroughs. Meanwhile, our troops were able to regroup, replenish the army, and continue to hold the line.

"This made it possible to shackle the enemy's huge forces around the eastern group of troops," Pavliuk says.

It was impossible to save Mariupol because the enemy outnumbered them 7 to 10 times. Pavliuk admitted that he needed at least three to four brigades to conduct a counterattack operation to break through. Instead, he had only one brigade, an incomplete one, which he withdrew from the front line.

Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 22/02/2024

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