Ukraine: Russia bombards Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant
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As the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance continues fighting at the Azovstal steel plant with the hope to defend the besieged Mariupol, drone video shows images of the steel plant in Mariupol being heavily attacked by Russian troops. Despite some civilians believed to be still trapped inside the plant, Russian troops continue their occupation of the besieged Mariupol. However, Moscow has so far denied claims suggesting its troops have stormed the steelworks.
The drone video, posted on TalkTV’s Twitter page, captures images of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant under Russian heavy bombardment.
Heavy smoke and fire are seen coming out from the plant as Russian explosions continue in the attempt to complete the siege of the plant.
While more than 100 people, including women, the elderly, and children, were evacuated over the weekend from the plant, a few hundred civilians are believed to be still trapped inside the plant, Ukraine government confirmed.
In light of the claims confirming the presence of civilians inside the plant, Russia announced that it would open another evacuation corridor over the next few days to allow civilians still trapped inside the plant to escape.
Despite the Russian claims over opening corridors, Ukrainian fighters at the Azovstal steel plant said that Russian troops have now started storming the plant making evacuation unsafe to civilians.
In the wake of the claims, Ukrainian officials confirmed that Russian forces have now intensified their attacks on the Azovstal plant and have launched an all-out assault on the steelworks.
The storming, however, has been denied by the Kremlin’s official spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, who said that “the order was publicly given by [Vladimir Putin] to cancel the storming.
“The is no storming”, he added.
Following the Russian denial, a Ukrainian National Guard commander at the Azovstal plant, Denys Shlega, said: “The enemy is trying to storm the plant with significant forces using armoured vehicles”.
Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Ukrainian National Guard Azov Regiment, confirmed the claims and said that Russian forces are attacking the plant with “the support of armoured vehicles and tanks, with attempts to land troops from boats and a large number of infantry”.
Commander of the Azov Regiment, Denys Prokopenko, also said that Ukrainian forces are fighting “difficult bloody battles” against Russian troops.
“I am proud of my soldiers who are making superhuman efforts to contain the pressure of the enemy.
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“The situation is extremely difficult”, he added in a brief video released on Telegram on Wednesday.
Following the significant intensification of attacks, President Zelensky openly claimed that by storming the plant, Russian forces are violating agreements for safe evacuations as by doing so, they are not letting civilians still trapped in the plant evacuate safely.
President Zelensky has made a further appeal to the UN to help civilians unable to escape during the weekend to leave the plant now under heavy bombardments.
In a phone call with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “Everyone is important to us. We ask for your help in saving them”.
Referring to Russia’s intensification of attacks, he also added: “All of these crimes will be answered, legally and quite practically on the battlefield”.
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