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Current Affairs

Mariupol: Significance

Date: 28 March 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Russia has laid a siege on one of the largest cities in Ukraine, Mariupol. The continuous attacks have turned the city into piles of ashes.

 

Background

Mariupol is a key battleground located in the Donetsk oblast region of the country and resisted efforts by rebels to capture the city.

 

Details

  • Mariupol is located in a strategic point on the banks of Sea of Azov. It forms a land bridge between rebel-controlled Crimea and the newly captured Donbass region.

  • It is just 100 km away from the rebel-held regions but has resisted any move by the rebels to capture the city.

  • It was later reclaimed by Ukrainian forces and was named as the regional capital of Oblast after Donetsk fell to rebel forces.

 

Importance

  • Ukraine has maritime advantage of the city. Majority of coastline is captured by Russia and a small area around Mariupol is under Ukrainian control.

  • Other cities Melitopol and Berdyansk along Sea of Azov are already under Russian control. Mariupol is critical for Ukraine to have hold over eastern coast.

  • Ukraine’s maritime trade will completely collapse in case Mariupol is seized. Ukraine will become a land-locked country.

  • Mariupol is home to two of the largest iron and steel plants in Europe. Capture of the city will hit maritime trade and metal production.

 

Maritime fencing

  • Since annexation of Crimea, Russia has almost gained complete control over Black Sea coast. The closure of Kerch strait was another move to paralyze Ukraine’s maritime trade.

  • Cargo handling at Mariupol and Berdyansk fell by more than 50 percent since the construction of Kerch bridge as it can allow ships with maximum height of 35-meters.

  • Ukrainian ships have to wait for more than 5 hours to get through Russian checking. Ukraine saw a loss of $400 million as a result of bottlenecks.

 

Significance for Russia

  • Capturing Mariupol will be one step towards Putin’ dream of creating Novorossiya, a historical territory consisting many parts of modern-day Ukraine.

  • It will also be a morale booster for Russian troops, who have been involved in a stalemate since the start of invasion.