Mariupol is in southeastern Ukraine and taking the city would allow Russia to open a land corridor between Russia and Crimea. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Russia’s assault on Ukraine has entered its fourth week, and Russian forces have now sent ground troops into the major southeastern city of Mariupol – which has been under heavy bombardment since the start of the conflict – and is now poised to fall to the military advance. Fighting has reportedly reached the center of the city of some half-million people.
“The fighting is already in the city itself,” a city official in the mayor’s office told The Wall Street Journal on Saturday. “But Mariupol remains a Ukrainian city.”
Multiple international reports have confirmed the city has been totally cut off, and has long been under siege by Russian forces, with WSJ detailing that the capital of Kiev has “tried to send military reinforcements to Mariupol, but so far this has proved impossible. ”