Mykolaiv Mayor: Soldiers Are “Ready to Fight to the Death”

Christiane speaks with the Mayor of Mykolaiv, who confirms Russia’s use of cluster bombs and reports that Ukrainian fighters have pushed a number of Russian tanks away from the city’s airport.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Can you tell me the status right now, because we understand there’s been more military strikes and a plume of smoke around the city?

OLEKSANDR SYENKEVYCH, MAYOR OF MYKOLAIV, UKRAINE: Yes. Today, we had a rocket attack on our city at 5:00 a.m. About 60 rockets fell on our city, and 60 — 61 buildings destroyed, and about 40 rockets fell down and exploded. So, starting from the morning, we also got an attack by heavy weapons, like tanks and heavy weapon machines around the city, from Kherson direction and Kropyvnytskyi direction.

AMANPOUR: What are they trying to do to your city? To surround it, to force you to surrender? What is the aim, do you think?

SYENKEVYCH: They want to attack the city, but we have a good, let’s say, artillery. And they don’t come too far — too close to the city, for about 20, 25 kilometers. They are staying outside, so our artillery can’t catch them. So…

AMANPOUR: And your defenders, they still have a high morale?

SYENKEVYCH: Yes, sure. They are really motivated. They want to defend their land, the motherland, our city. And they’re really motivated and ready to fight to the death.

AMANPOUR: What can you tell us about Russian tank formations? We understand that, around an airport nearby, they may be retreating.

SYENKEVYCH: They tried to catch the — let’s say to attack the airport. And our troops fought with them. And they fell back to the border that I just said, for 20, 25 kilometers.

AMANPOUR: Mr. Mayor, has — have you or any of your citizens in the town talked to any of these Russians? Are you able to ask them what they think they’re doing? Do they tell you what they think they’re doing there?

SYENKEVYCH: I’m sure they realize what they do. Moreover, they — every time we catch them alive, they say that they didn’t know where they go, they were on a training, they crossed the border, and then they found out in the Mykolaiv that they are far from Russia. But it’s lie, because from Mykolaiv to Crimea, it’s about 500 kilometers. So they should know where they are. They gathering near Kherson. And they spread around the city. And they trying to attack our city.

About This Episode EXPAND

Oleksandr Syenkevych, mayor of Mykolaiv, Ukraine, gives an update on destruction in his city. Ambassador Julianne Smith discusses NATO’s evolving plans to deter Russia. Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov discusses the role of art during times of war. Bill McKibben explains how climate policy can be used to fight autocracy.