War in Ukraine | Russia “attempts to destroy Ukrainian units in Azovstal”.

(Kyiv) The Ukrainian army has announced that fighting will continue at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol (south-east), where Russia is trying to “annihilate” the site’s last defenders, despite announcing a unilateral ceasefire for Thursday morning.

Posted at 6:29

“Russian occupiers are busy blocking and destroying Ukrainian units on the territory of Azovstal,” the Ukrainian army said in a statement Thursday morning.

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

The statement comes as Moscow announced on Wednesday evening that its forces would cease fire for three consecutive days, beginning at 5 a.m. GMT (1 a.m. EDT) on Thursday, to allow for the evacuation of civilians remaining in Azovstal, who are believed to be still 200, according to the Mayor of Mariupol Vadim Boitchenko.

For his part, Denys Prokopenko, the commander of the Azov regiment leading the defense of the compound, hinted in a video released Wednesday night that Russian forces had managed to break into the steelworks where “violent and bloody fighting” was ongoing .

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

“I am proud of my soldiers who make superhuman efforts to withstand the enemy’s onslaught. I am grateful to the whole world for the colossal support of the Mariupol garrison. Our soldiers deserve it,” he adds.

The Azovstal Steelworks, a huge steel complex criss-crossed by underground networks, is the last stronghold of Ukrainian fighters against the Russian army, which has been besieging this strategic port since early March. His surrender or capture would be an important victory for Moscow.

Mayor Vadim Boïtchenko on Thursday also called for the city’s evacuations to continue, which were 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.

Fighting continued elsewhere in the country, particularly in the east, where Moscow is continuing its offensive. According to the governor of Donetsk region, 25 civilians were injured in a strike that hit a residential area in Kramatorsk overnight.

For its part, the Russian army said it had attacked a Ukrainian command post and two military camps at the city’s airfield.

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