Ukraine accuses Russia of resuming attacks on steel mill

Ukraine’s government said on Saturday (23) that Russian forces had again bombed the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, where about 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers and at least 1,000 civilians are resisting the occupation of the southern city.

The information was confirmed by Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to the cabinet of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the Ukrinform portal. “The unpleasant news is that the enemy is trying to completely suppress the resistance of Mariupol defenders in the Azovstal area,” he explained.

This week, Moscow declared victory in Mariupol but did not enter Azovstal, a complex considered to be one of the biggest metallurgical plants in Europe. On the occasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered that no attacks be carried out there to ensure the safety of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.

However, according to Arestovych, the Russian Army has resumed “air attacks on the territory of the plant, on the defense lines of our troops and are trying to carry out assault operations”. Moscow has yet to comment.

At a press conference in Washington, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal declared that the situation in Mariupol, under constant and incessant bombardment by the Russians, was “the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the Russian invasion”.

“We will see the terrible atrocities committed by the Russians when the city is liberated,” he added, noting that “Moscow’s troops are destroying everything.”

It is estimated that at least 100,000 inhabitants are still blocked in the port city. In addition, Kiev believes that the death toll in Mariupol is at least 20,000.

On Saturday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Ukraine would make another attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol. “Today, we are again trying to evacuate women, children and the elderly,” she said on her Facebook account, adding that civilians had started to gather near a mall in the city.

A video released by Ukrainska Pravda shows women, girls and boys, as well as babies, in bunkers at the Azovstal steelworks. In the recording it is possible to see the soldiers going down to the basement with large bags and distributing what could be sweets.

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