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The Russian troops were blown up by their own landmines while responding to a hoax call from pro-Ukrainian partisans in Mariupol, officials reported on Monday. At 2am on Monday morning, a group of Russian troops on patrol in Mariupol received reports that “Azov” fighters were hiding inside a home on the outskirts of the city, the Mariupol mayor’s office wrote in a Telegram post. The Azov Regiment – which rose to international fame during a lengthy battle to keep Mariupol – has been labeled a terrorist organisation by the Kremlin.
The southeastern port city has seen weeks of intense fighting throughout the war as both countries fought for control over the area that is also home to the Azovstal steel plant – a sprawling industrial site that Azov soldiers used to shield themselves for weeks on end.
Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers who had been defending the Azovstal steel plant surrendered in May after their supply lines were cut off.
Any Azov soldiers lingering in Mariupol have become a high-value target for Russian forces.
However, the reports of Azov activity given to the Russian troops turned out to be a hoax created by pro-Ukrainian partisans.
Putin sent reeling as Russian soldiers blown up by OWN mines after falling for hoax call
Russian servicemen stand guard at the destroyed part of the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works, Mariupol
The Telegram post revealed: “The result is one occupier minus a leg and a hospital in Donetsk. One occupier sings with Kobzon.
“The most piquant detail is that the occupiers blew up their own mines, which are ignored by the people in that area and by the spies.
“They were ignored, but we took advantage.”
The phrase “sings with Kobzon” refers to veteran Russian singer and pro-Kremlin politician Josif Kobzon, who was under European Union sanctions for supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and died in 2018.
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The defeat of Russian troops is a rare victory for Ukrainian forces in Mariupol, who have suffered great losses in recent months.
Russian forces successfully besieged the city in May, much of which was either destroyed or heavily damaged during the fighting.
Since Russian forces captured the city, authorities have been battling with a cholera outbreak, caused by mass burials.
Cholera is a potentially deadly bacterial disease.
Much of Mariupol was destroyed by Russian shelling
Authorities have been battling with a cholera outbreak, caused by mass burials
Meanwhile, Mariupol’s Philharmonic Hall will soon be the site of a grim televised trial of Ukrainian prisoners of war (PoW).
On August 10, Russia’s propaganda machine broadcast images of the preparations including wide-mesh steel cages.
The reporter taunted: “The criminals will be led to the cages through a steel corridor.”
The trial was due to start on August 24, Ukraine’s Independence Day, but was postponed for unknown reasons.
Local sources suggest it has been moved to the second week of September.
Denis Pushilin, the head of the Russian-controlled Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), used a recent appearance on Russian propaganda networks to describe plans for a trial of 80 captured soldiers from Ukraine’s controversial Azov regiment.
The tribunal’s impartiality would be assured by international observers from Syria, Belarus, Russia and, possibly, North Korea, he said.
Russia has long angled for a public reckoning of the Azov Regiment, whom it has accused of being Neo-Nazis.
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A woman talks with Russian soldiers in downtown Mariupol
A Russian solider walks past the ‘Mariupol’ sign which has been repainted Russian flag colours
The regiment was formed in 2014 as a right-wing volunteer militia to fight Russian-backed separatists who had taken control of parts of the Donbas – the largely Russian-speaking industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine where Russia says it wants to end Ukrainian rule.
In the early days, there were member of the extreme right in the regiment but it evolved and was in recent years better known for discipline and combat preparedness.
The regiment denies being fascist, racist or neo-Nazi, and Ukraine says it has been reformed away from its radical nationalist origins to be integrated into the National Guard.
Kyiv also denies that Russian speakers have been persecuted in Ukraine, and says the Russian allegation that it has a fascist agenda is a baseless pretext for a Russian war of aggression.