5 things to know Friday

As Mariupol battle trudges on, Putin may be desperate for V-Day win

The Ukrainian military says the Russian effort to seize the steel mill in the beleaguered coastal city of Mariupol goes on. In a statement Friday, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said “the blockade of units of the defense forces in the Azovstal area continues.” It added that assault operations had resumed in some areas to take control of the plant. The two sides also engaged in fighting Thursday with signs pointing to an increasingly dire situation for the resistance. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday in his nightly address the attack on the plant was preventing the evacuation of remaining civilians in its underground bunkers. The continued fighting comes amid growing speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to present the Russian people with a battlefield triumph – or announce an escalation of the war – in time for Victory Day Monday, the biggest patriotic holiday on the Russian calendar. It marks the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.

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