The Russian army and pro-Russian forces on Tuesday launched a “powerful attack” with tanks and amphibious landings against huge steel mills in Azovstal, the last enclave of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, the commander of the regiment defending it said.
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“A powerful attack on the Azovstal lands, supported by armored vehicles, tanks and attempts to land troops with the help of boats and a large number of infantry elements,” said Svyatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov regiment. on Telegram messaging.
“We will do everything we can to repel it,” he added, also calling for “immediate measures to evacuate civilians” who are still trapped with Ukrainian fighters at this huge mineral site in Mariupol, a strategic port in southern Donbass. .
He also said that heavy shelling had taken place the night before the attack, killing two women and wounding “about 10 civilians.”
“Last night, the enemy’s naval and land artillery bombed the Azovstal plant, and very heavy bombs were thrown,” he added.
Vadim Astafeev, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, announced earlier on Tuesday that “units of the Russian army and the Donetsk People’s Republic, using artillery and aircraft, began to destroy the firing positions” of Ukrainian fighters from Azovstal.
In a speech picked up by Russian news agencies, Mr. Astafeev accused the Azov regiment of “using” the ceasefire – declared for the evacuation of civilians – to get out of the basements of steel plants and “taking firing positions on the grounds and in the factory premises”.
One hundred civilians were evacuated this weekend from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, thanks to an operation carried out with the support of the United Nations. On Tuesday, they arrived in Zaporizhia, 230 kilometers northwest of Mariupol, where they were received by representatives of the organization.
“I am pleased and delighted to confirm that 101 civilians have been successfully evacuated,” the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine Osnat Lubrani said in a statement on Tuesday.
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