The Russian-backed head of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, said that he plans to make the besieged port city of Mariupol a “resort town”, state news agency TASS reported on Monday.
“Russia is here forever, and you are finally home. Now this is the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic forever. No one will take away this right from us. We have strength, we have opportunities, we have the support of the biggest, beautiful country – Russia,” he said talking to the residents of Mariupol during events to mark the Victory Day anniversary.
“The task is to make Mariupol a resort city, which has not been possible to do before,” he added.
Pushilin said the Azovstal steel plant, the last remaining stronghold of the Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, had “negatively affected the ecology of the city itself and coastal waters.”
“If Azovstal is not restored, then we will make a resort town,” he said, adding that it would create additional jobs and bring income to the city.
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a victory in Mariupol and ordered his military to not storm the plan but to blockade it almost three weeks ago.
Yet, Ukrainian fighters have reported that the fighting has not ceased and that Russia continued to attempt to storm the plant, which they insisted was not yet under Moscow’s control.