Russian state media commentators say 60 minutes senior NATO officials are inside the Azovstal steel plant

The brave defenders of Mariupol of Ukraine lurking in the Azovstal steel mill drew world attention with their refusal to surrender to the Russian invaders. Then, President Vladimir Putin abruptly “aborted” the plan to storm the factory, ordering his forces to simply blockade it.

Azovstal, which occupies four square miles and has extensive underground structures, has come under relentless artillery attacks in recent weeks. But despite their superiority in numbers, the Russian forces were still unable to drive the Azov regiment out of the factory.

Now, Russian state media have offered a strange explanation for Putin’s decision to withdraw – that the steel plant is rife with Western mercenaries and even high-ranking NATO officers.

On Friday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov stated: “The remains of Ukrainian nationalists from the Azov regiment … along with foreign mercenaries from the United States and European countries, safely blockaded on the territory of the Azovstal plant.”

The day before, pundits on state television had begun to suggest that this belief may have played some part in Putin’s decision to stop bombing THE besieged steel mill.

Appear on 60 minutes On Thursday night, military expert and retired Colonel Yury Knutov suggested that Azovstal was hiding secrets of global importance. He speculated that their disclosure would have ripple effects, including potentially influencing the re-election of French President Emmanuel Macron. His right-wing populist challenger, Marine Le Pen, has long been seen by Russian state media as the Kremlin’s preferred candidate. Even jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny step into France’s presidential battle via Twitter, urging French voters to support Macron and reject Le Pen, who has too close ties to Russia.

During the broadcast 60 minutesKnutov asserts: “Many experts say that it is possible that, in addition to members of Azov and the Ukrainian Armed Forces, NATO advisers may also [at Azovstal]—And the very high levels. And if they end up in the hands of the Russian Army, this will cause an international scandal and have major political implications for NATO countries. Political leaders, leaders of NATO countries, have stated that none of their advisers are there and that NATO is not involved in this, other than providing secondary aid by sending weapons. Suddenly – if this proves to be a lie – then Macron could be defeated in his election. Some other politicians may be forced to resign.”

Smoke rises above the Azovstal steel plant, in Mariupol, Ukraine, in this still image obtained from a drone video recently posted on social media.

Mariupol City Council via Reuters

Presenter Evgeny Popov, also a member of the Russian State Duma, considered: “For him [Macron] To lose the elections, we need to get the people of NATO out there — the French in particular — in the next two days. ”

Knutov said that destroying Azovstal by bombing wouldn’t be difficult, but it would deprive Russia of the opportunity to identify those remaining there. Therefore, Putin’s blockade idea is more likely to reveal the secrets of the steel factory. Knutov predicts that within a week or less, the current inhabitants of Azovstal will emerge and surrender, as they are forced to starve and lack water.

Speaking about the Kremlin’s intention to capture the entire Donbas region, Knutov pointed out that according to the Pentagon, Russia is expected to rely on the same tactics it has taken in Syria. Knutov predicts ominously: “It is said that new tactics will be implemented … our tactics developed in Syria have been proven. Maybe something new will also be used, I am not ready to talk about it and reveal it. He then added: “We have reached the stage where I believe that NATO is directly involved in this military conflict. We were able to talk not only about the special military operation of our troops on the territory of Ukraine, but also the war of NATO against Russia on the territory of Ukraine. That’s where we are right now. “

Co-host of 60 minutes, Olga Skabeeva, pointed out that the release of the civilians from the Azovstal steel plant was requested by a range of Western officials, including German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Rejecting the idea that these politicians are concerned about the release of civilians believed to be trapped in Azovstal along with members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Skabeeva concludes: “They want to free them. release people from the catacombs, which means there are some very, very special people. – very valuable people there. ”

State media advertised idea The Kremlin’s offensive in Ukraine has stalled because the Russian military is fighting not only with local troops, but with “all of NATO.” With Russian losses mounting rapidly, so too are the apparent threats of retaliation, voiced by the Kremlin’s most prominent mouthpieces. On state television, watched by millions, hosts and pundits regularly laugh about the possibility of destroying Western cities with nuclear attacks.

During his appearance on 60 minutes, Deputy Secretary of the State Duma Andrey Isaev, complained about the recent statement by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was quoted by him as saying: “In the case of the use of weapons of mass destruction, the UK has the right to its own strike back, without consulting other NATO countries”. Isaev smoked back: “We could also launch a nuclear strike against the UK without consulting NATO. The UK is a great target in that sense. Mocking the garland he wore around Johnson’s neck during a recent trip to India, Isaev said: “The noose that was worn around Mr Johnson’s neck during his trip to India suits him very well.”

The provocative rhetoric on state television, often seen as a reflection of the prevailing mood in the Kremlin, has grown increasingly belligerent. During Tuesday’s broadcast of Evening with Vladimir Solovyov, the host country tried to prevent NATO countries from assisting the Ukrainians in defending themselves against Russian aggression. He continued the topic of accusing Western countries of surreptitiously sending their forces to fight in Ukraine, claiming that they would be destroyed along with Western-supplied weapons.

Solovyov threatened: “We are in fact starting to wage war against NATO countries. We will crush the war machine of NATO, as well as the citizens of NATO countries. When this operation is over, NATO will have to ask itself: ‘Do we have what we need to defend ourselves? Do we have enough people to defend ourselves? ” Solovyov asserts that it is not only Ukraine that will have to be “denuclearized”, which means that Russia will continue to march through Europe. He added ominously: “And there will be no mercy. There will be no mercy.” Russian state media commentators say 60 minutes senior NATO officials are inside the Azovstal steel plant


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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