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Russian forces are involved in battles with Ukrainian troops in Mariupol: Britain

  • Ukraine’s defense of Mariupol is sinking a “significant” number of Russian troops and equipment.
  • The besieged Mariupol remains under Ukrainian control, despite weeks of widespread shelling.
  • According to UK intelligence, Putin’s forces will need more troops to continue the invasion.

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Ukrainian defenders in besieged Mariupol are tying up a “significant” amount of Russian troops and equipment that will soon be needed elsewhere, British intelligence said on Thursday.

Russian forces are preparing for a renewed offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass, the UK Ministry of Defense tweeted, and will need a large number of troops to do so.

But President Vladimir Putin’s troops may be limited by the ongoing campaign to seize Mariupol, which remains under Ukrainian control despite constant bombardment by Russian forces.

The strategic southern port city has been surrounded for weeks by the Russian army, which has launched a devastating bombing raid on the city. Russia is targeting civilian areas, including schools, shelters, theaters and hospitals.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “tens of thousands” of Ukrainian civilians could die in Mariupol.

Western and NATO officials say Russian troops have moved far from the country’s northern region to focus on Donbass after failing to capture the capital, Kyiv.

British intelligence said Russia was trying to concentrate its forces before the offensive and was using “widespread” firing tactics, adding that the upcoming military campaign would require “significant levels of force”.

Satellite images and videos show Russian forces and military convoys targeting the region.

“It could be a big war in Donbass – something the world has not seen in hundreds of years,” Zelensky warned.

Ukraine has warned residents of the region to evacuate before the upcoming offensive. Dozens were killed last week in a Russian missile strike on a Kramatorsk train station as civilians tried to flee the area.