Ukraine officials claim Azovstal ceasefire unstalled, negotiations underway
- Ukraine officials claim Azovstal steel plant is being bombed again by Russia
- Reportedly 'powerful explosions' were heard and smoke pillars were seen
- 'After the bombing is over, the Russians may try to start ground attacks,' an official said
According to Petro Andriushchenko, an assistant to Mariupol's mayor, planes dropped massive bombs on the factory "because very powerful explosions are heard." People also noticed smoke pillars.
"As far as I understand, after the bombing is over, the Russians may try to start ground attacks," he said.
"The territory of the plant is huge, they [the Russians] are trying to break through the facility, gain a foothold and find entrances and exits to the underground areas -- where the field hospital is, where our defenders are," Andriushcheko added.
So far, their efforts to access the factory had proved fruitless. "And this is what provokes the new shelling, the new artillery cover for these ground operations," Andriushchenko remarked.
He further said that more people were returning to Mariupol because the Russians refused to let them enter Ukrainian-held territory.
"People are returning due to the actual closure of all green corridors by the Russian Federation. People who have settled in Mariupol district, Nikolske district, Berdiansk district, who cannot get to Zaporizhzhia, are forced to move back to the city, to their homes. At the same time we haven’t seen an increase in food supplies," he said.
As per Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, the International Red Cross is debating the fate of individuals who have been severely injured and are still imprisoned at Azovstal with Russian officials.
"We have started a new round of negotiations around the road map of the special operation. Let's start with the severely wounded," she said, adding, "We want a document to be signed: how exactly the evacuation from Azovstal will take place, we are preparing to sign it."
Vereshchuk also said that Turkey has agreed to serve as a mediator in the current round of discussions.