Russia says it has gained control of Mariupol
Moscow announced it had captured the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on Thursday morning, but Kyiv promptly contradicted this. Ukrainian forces are still putting up resistance at the Azovstal steel plant. Only a few civilians at a time are being allowed to leave the port city, which has been sealed off by Russian military forces for weeks. Aerial shots show what appears to be new mass graves. Europe's press examines the symbolic significance of this battleground.
A symbol for pointless death, not victory
The Badische Zeitung is already dreading how Putin will exploit the capture of Mariupol on 9 May:
“At last he has something to show to Russian mothers to explain what their sons have died for. And here the Ukrainian army wanted to defy him. But after eight murderous weeks of house-to-house fighting and endless bombing, the Russian flag is flying from the piles of rubble and fields of death. Plans for a victory march on 9 May are going ahead, and it will no doubt be a macabre spectacle. But if Mariupol symbolises anything in Putin's pointless war then it is the suffering, misery, death and destruction.”
Putin wil not stop at Mariupol
There is still no sign of a peaceful resolution, Corriere della Sera fears:
“The cynical promise of the apologists of surrender was: give Putin a prize and he will stop. You can't rely on that. ... The (alleged) fall of Mariupol might make a good trophy for the May 9 Victory parade, but it's not enough for history. Tens of thousands of dead Russian soldiers, the ignominy of a sunken flagship, the forced retreat from the north of the country, the embarrassing performance of one of the strongest armies in the world, Russia's political and economic isolation - Mariupol will not be enough to make up for these defeats. Not after conjuring up a new Great Patriotic War against 'resurgent Nazism'.”