Ukraine war latest: Fertiliser prices hit record on Russia supply concerns – Financial Times

Ukraine has praised its troops defending the Azov Sea port city of Mariupol despite being surrounded by Russian forces, saying their efforts were “saving” the capital Kyiv and other big cities.

Russia “no longer dreams of capturing Kyiv, is out of breath in the Chernihiv and Sumy regions and is receiving painful blows near Kharkiv, in the Mykolayiv, Kherson and Luhansk regions”, defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a statement on Monday.

“Defenders of Mariupol have played a huge role in destroying the enemy’s plans and enhancing our defence,” he added.

“By virtue of their dedication and superhuman courage, tens of thousands of lives throughout Ukraine were saved,” Reznikov said. “Today Mariupol is saving Kyiv, Dnipro and Odesa.”

Russia’s shelling of residential and public buildings in Mariupol has, according to various estimates, claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and combatants.

Without providing figures, Reznikov conceded that “we are taking losses” as Russian troops seek to surround and capture Kyiv as well as other big cities to the north, east and south.

Russian forces have suffered much higher casualties and losses, he said.

Since the invasion on February 24, “our soldiers have shot down 100 planes and 120 helicopters, destroyed almost 500 tanks and 1,500 Russian armoured combat vehicles”, he said.

“That is why Russia is gathering mercenaries all over the world and making desperate attempts to push Belarusian troops” into Ukraine, he added.

Ukrainian officials this weekend claimed Russia’s military losses have risen to 14,700 including fatalities, injuries and prisoners of war.

Ukraine’s claims could not be independently verified.

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