The Azovstal steel plant, the last focus of the Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol. Photo: EFE
Russia launched a “powerful attack” on Tuesday, including tank and infantry supportagainst the Azovstal steel plant, last pocket of resistance in the city of Mariupolin Ukraine, according to a commander of the Azov battalion defending the facilities.
“A strong attack in the Azovstal area is currently underway, with the support of ammunition and tanks,” Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the combat corps, said in a video message to the Telegram.
About the same time that the attack by Russian troops was announced, the UN reported that it had been achieved the “successful” evacuation of 101 civilians trapped for several weeks in the Ukrainian industrial complex as far as Zaporizhia, a Ukrainian-controlled city about 230 kilometers northwest of Mariupol.
Russian troops guard the administrative headquarters of the Azovstal plant, which was destroyed by the bombing. Photo: REUTERS
Palamar added that Russian forces in Azovstal were conducting “attempts at landing troops supported by two ships and many infantry“.
“We will do everything to reject them,” he continued, calling for “immediate measures to evacuate the civilians” who continue to hide in the kilometric tunnels of the Mariupol steel complex, a strategic port located in the southern Donbas region. which is already almost entirely in the hands of Russia.
According to Palamar, the Russian bombings last night left two women dead and “about ten civilians” were injured.
Russian authorities, meanwhile, have already said “Artillery and aircraft” are used to destroy “firing positions” of Ukrainian fighters who left the plant.
Earlier, aid workers were reportedly preparing hot meals, wheelchairs and toys for civilians who were starting to arrive in relative safety on Tuesday. after leaving the Mariupol steel plantbesieged for months by Russian forces.
Russian troops fired a rocket near the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. Photo: REUTERS
Stretchers and wheelchairs lined a reception center, small children’s shoes hung in a shopping cart and toys awaited the first caravan of civilians, in an evacuation administered by the United Nations and the Red Cross. .
Ang The plant is important in Russia’s campaign in eastern Ukraine. A top US official has warned that Russia plans to include most of eastern Ukraine this month.
Mariupol has become a symbol of human suffering caused by war. There was a siege of Russia trapped civilians with little access to food, water and electricityand Russian forces destroyed the city.
The iron works, in which about 1,000 civilians took refuge along with about 2,000 fighters who refused to surrender, became the center of attention in the outside world.
The UN announced on Tuesday the “successful” evacuation of 101 civilians trapped for several weeks in the Ukrainian industrial complex of Azovstal, in Mariúpol (southeast), besieged by the Russian army, which launched a new offensive.
The first civilians to evacuate from Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol (Ukraine) arrived in Zaporizhia on Tuesday. Photo: EFE
In Zaporizhia, the convoy’s destination, AFP journalists spotted it five vans arriving at a reception center.
“I am happy and relieved to confirm that 101 civilians have been successfully evacuated from the Azovstal metallurgical factory in Mariupol,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine Osnat Lubrani said in a statement.
On Twitter, Lubrani posted a photo of himself in front of a convoy of more than 10 buses that stopped on a highway.
“The people I traveled with told me a few heartbreaking stories about the hell they went through. I think of all those still incarcerated. We will do our best to help them, “he wrote.
The UN indicated that this evacuation operation began on Friday, following recent visits by UN Secretary General, António Guterres, to Moscow and kyiv.
According to Lubrani, 58 people joined the convoy from Mangush, a suburb of Mariupol, and 127 were escorted to Zaporizhia, 230 kilometers northwest, in territory controlled by Ukrainian forces.
Other evacuees decided not to travel to Zaporizhia with the convoy, Lubrani said. Survivors will “receive first humanitarian aid, especially health care and psychological attention,” the person in charge explained.
About 80 civilians, according to Russia, or a “road”, according to Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky, were evacuated from Azovstal on Sunday.
This large steel complex was the last stronghold of Ukrainian forces in Mariupol, a port city in southeastern Ukraine. almost controlled by the Russians.
Source: AP and AFP