Russian forces broke into the Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine’s Mariupol and triggered a battle inside the perimeters, a Ukrainian commander said. The steel plant is the last holdout for Ukrainians in Mariupol after Moscow declared victory over the area.
Lt. Col. Denys Prokopenko, a commander of the Azov Regiment, said that there were “heavy, bloody battles” underway at the steel plant in Mariupol, according to reports from CNN.
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“I thank the whole world for the tremendous support of the Mariupol garrison. The situation is extremely difficult, but we continue to carry out the order to keep the defense”, the Ukrainian official said.
He also said that his soldiers were making a “superhuman effort” to counter the aggression of Russian forces in the Azovstal steel plant, according to reports from CNN.
As clashes were underway at the steel mill, Ukrainians trapped in the city of Mariupol were rounded up for evacuation, United Nations officials said on Wednesday. More than 300 people were evacuated from the besieged city, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Zelensky also slammed Moscow for “violating agreements for safe evacuations.” He added that the first round of evacuations was not considered a victory yet. “I believe there is still a chance to save other people.”
The second round of evacuations on Wednesday was focused on getting safe passage for civilians who were outside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. No civilians were evacuated from the plant on Wednesday.
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Individuals rescued from Mariupol, Manhush, Berdiansk, Tokmak and Vasylivka did not carry anything but the clothes they were already wearing, according to the United Nations humanitarian chief in Ukraine.
The United Nations official said the evacuees will also receive “much-needed psychological support” after they have been taken to a safer area.