Russian forces have begun storming the steel plant containing the last stronghold of resistance in Mariupol.
The takeover began after evacuations from the bombed-out factory saw so many Ukrainian survivors finally reach safety after long days and nights of constant shelling.
One woman said the attack began “right after we were taken out of the factory in the Ukrainian port city.
Again talk about the “fear of animals” she feels when the building she was in was hit by a bomb.
However, around 200 civilians are believed to remain inside the steel mills, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said – and 100,000 remain in Mariupol overall.
The Soviet-era factory has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance and defiance.
In his nightly video speech, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that by storming it, Russian forces violated agreements on safe evacuation.
He said the initial evacuations “wasn’t a victory, but it was an outcome”.
And he added: “I believe there is still a chance to save others.”
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In its latest intelligence update, the British Ministry of Defense said that Russia had deployed 22 battalion-level battle groups near the city of Izium in an “attempt to advance along the northern axis of the Donbas”.
It added: “Despite struggling to penetrate Ukraine’s defenses and build momentum, Russia most likely intends to move beyond Izium to capture the cities of Kramatorsk and Severodonetsk.
“Capturing these sites would strengthen Russia’s military control over the northeastern Donbas and provide a staging ground for its efforts to cut off Ukrainian forces in the area.”
In another battlefield development, the Russian military shelled a chemical factory east of the city of Avdiivka, killing at least 10 people, Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
Kyrylenko wrote in a Telegram post: “Russians know exactly where to aim – workers have just finished their shift and are waiting for a bus at a bus stop to take them home,” Kyrylenko wrote in a post. on Telegram. land”.
Explosions were also heard in Lviv, western Ukraine, near the Polish border.
The mayor said the strikes damaged three power substations, knocked out power in parts of the city and disrupted water supplies.
Lviv is a gateway for NATO-supplied weapons and a haven for people fleeing fighting in the east.
Authorities said a missile also hit an infrastructure in a mountainous area in Transcarpathia, an area in western Ukraine bordering Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, authorities said. know.
There was no immediate information about any casualties.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said that Russian aircraft and artillery hit hundreds of targets in the past day, including strong points, command posts, artillery positions, fuel depots, ammunition and radar equipment.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials say railway infrastructure across the country is still under attack.
Oleksandr Kamyshin, head of Ukrainian railways, said Tuesday’s Russian attacks hit six stations in the central and western part of the country, causing heavy damage.
The Ukrainian military also reported attacks on railway lines in the Kirovohrad region, with an unspecified number of casualties.