The capture of the Mariupol Steelworks is celebrated by Russia as a major partial victory in its war of aggression. Meanwhile, President Selenskyj is calling for a compensation fund. The developments at a glance.

After weeks of fierce fighting, the Russian army has claimed complete control of the Azovstal steelworks in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol.

All enemy fighters surrendered, the Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday night in Moscow. The sprawling industrial complex on the Azov Sea was the last place in the strategically important port city in south-eastern Ukraine that had not yet been fully under Russian control.

So far no statement from Ukraine

The Ukrainian side initially did not comment on the alleged capture of the plant. According to information from Moscow, a total of 2,439 Ukrainian soldiers holed up in Soviet-era bunkers have been taken prisoner by the Russians since May 16. The last group of 531 fighters was captured on Friday, it said. The steelworks had been besieged by Russian troops since April 21.

In a television interview recorded before the Russian government announced the capture, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy blamed the West for the development. He has repeatedly called on Western heads of state and government to provide his country with “appropriate weapons” so that we can reach Mariupol to liberate these people.”

Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen criticized the German government’s cautious course on this point. Germany is “too hesitant to deliver heavy weapons and impose sanctions,” said the Dane to the “Handelsblatt”. “Of course, Germany is highly dependent on Russian gas imports, but I think a clear stance from the federal government would change the whole dynamic in Ukraine. We need German leadership.” Rasmussen called for an immediate halt to all oil and gas imports from Russia to Europe.

Compensation fund requested

Because of the massive destruction in his country, Zelenskyy mentioned in his nightly video speech a fund for compensation payments to countries that Russia had damaged with attacks. That could be regulated in a “multilateral agreement”. Zelenskyy suggested freezing or confiscating Russian capital and property abroad and transferring it to this new fund. “That would be fair,” he said.

According to Ukrainian estimates, war damage in Ukraine already totals hundreds of billions of euros. Russia began its attack on the neighboring country at the end of February.

Ukraine contact group wants to advise

The new international Ukraine contact group plans to reconnect on Monday. The US Department of Defense announced that this time the meeting would be held via video. There will be representatives from more than 40 countries. At the end of April, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin invited partners from around 40 countries to a meeting at the US Air Force base in Ramstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, to discuss aid for Ukraine. There he had promised future meetings of the contact group on a monthly basis.

Russian attacks continue

Zelenskyi also blamed Russia for a rocket attack on a cultural center in the east of the country that injured eight. An eleven-year-old child was also injured in the shelling in the city of Lozova in the Kharkiv region, the head of state wrote on the Telegram news channel. “The occupiers have identified culture, education and humanity as their enemies.” Russia, in turn, accused Ukraine of misusing civilian objects for military purposes.

That brings the day

According to the Finnish energy company Gasum, Russia wants to stop gas deliveries to Finland early on Saturday morning. Gazprom Export informed about this on Friday, announced the Finnish utility Gasum in Espoo. The Russian state-owned company confirmed this in the evening. The reason is that payments for the gas delivered in April were not made.

Russia had demanded that bills only be paid in rubles and no longer in euros or dollars – and had previously turned off the gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria because, like Finland, they had rejected the ruble payment that had not been contractually agreed.

After the capture of the Mariupol steelworks, it remains to be seen whether Russia will provide information on the whereabouts of the arrested Ukrainian militants. The Defense Ministry in Moscow released a video of the men’s arrest. Russian President Vladimir Putin had pledged that if they surrender, they would stay alive and receive medical attention. The last defenders of Mariupol declared their surrender on Friday after weeks of resistance.