Russian “powerful attack” on the Azovstal factory

The Russian army and pro-Russian forces on Tuesday launched a “powerful attack” with tanks and an amphibious assault against the huge Azovstal Steel Works, the last center of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, a commander of the regiment defending it announced.

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“A powerful attack on the territory of Azovstal is underway, with the support of armored vehicles, tanks and attempts to land troops with the help of boats and a large number of infantry elements,” said Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov regiment , on telegram messages.

“We will do everything we can to repel it,” he added, also calling for “immediate action to evacuate civilians” who are still entrenched with Ukrainian fighters at this huge metallurgical site in Mariupol, a strategic port in southern Donbass and are already almost entirely under Russian control.

He also said that heavy shelling erupted the night before the attack, killing two women and injuring “about 10 civilians”.

“Last night enemy naval and ground artillery shelled the Azovstal factory, dropping very heavy bombs,” he added.

Vadim Astafyev, a spokesman for Russia’s Defense Ministry, announced earlier Tuesday that “units of the Russian army and the Donetsk People’s Republic are beginning to use artillery and aircraft to destroy (the) firing positions” of Ukrainian fighters from Azovstal.

In a speech picked up by Russian authorities, Astafyev accused the Azov regiment of “exploiting” the ceasefire – which was declared to evacuate civilians – to get out of the steel mill’s basements and “take up firing positions on the territory and at the factory.” Building”.

Hundreds of civilians were evacuated from the Azovstal Steelworks in Mariupol this weekend thanks to an operation carried out with the support of the United Nations (UN). They arrived in Zaporijjia, 230 kilometers northwest of Mariupol, on Tuesday, where they were greeted by representatives of the organization.

“I am happy and relieved to confirm that 101 civilians have been successfully evacuated,” Osnat Lubrani, United Nations Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator for Ukraine, said in a statement on Tuesday.

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