Russia “attempting to annihilate” Ukrainian units in Azovstal

The Ukrainian military announced that fighting continues at the Azovstal steel plants in Mariupol (southeast) as Russia is trying to “annihilate” the last defenders of the site, even if it has declared a unilateral ceasefire as of Thursday morning.

“The Russian occupiers are engaged in obstructing and trying to eliminate Ukrainian units in the Azovstal region,” the Ukrainian military said in a statement Thursday morning.

According to her, the Moscow forces “resumed the offensive with the support of aircraft to take control of the factory.”

This statement comes as Moscow announced, on Wednesday evening, that its forces will cease fire for three consecutive days, starting from Thursday 8 am (local time), to allow the evacuation of civilians who are still present in Azovstal, and who will remain 200 people, according to the mayor of the city of Azovstal. Mariupol, Vadim Boychenko.

For his part, Denis Prokopenko, the commander of the Azov regiment who leads the defense of the site, noted in a video posted on Wednesday evening that Russian troops managed to enter the steel mills where “fierce and bloody fighting” was taking place.

“For two days, the enemy managed to enter the factory premises,” he said in this video posted on Telegram.

“I am proud of my soldier who makes extraordinary efforts to resist the enemy’s attack. I am grateful to the whole world for the tremendous support he gave to the Mariupol garrison. Our soldiers deserve it.”

The Azovstal steel mills, a huge steel complex interspersed with underground networks, are the last pocket of resistance by Ukrainian fighters against the Russian army that has besieged this strategic port since the beginning of March. His surrender or capture would be an important victory for Moscow.

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Mayor Vadim Boychenko on Thursday also called for the continuation of the evacuations, which are being carried out with the help of the United Nations and the Red Cross. “We are fighting together to save every person, every inhabitant of Mariupol,” he said.

Elsewhere in the country, fighting continued, especially in the east where Moscow continues its offensive. According to the governor of the Donetsk region, 25 civilians were injured in a raid targeting a residential area in Kramatorsk overnight.

For its part, the Russian military said it had targeted a Ukrainian command center and two military depots at the city’s airport.

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