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Russia and Ukraine War: Kyiv claims – Russia trying to eliminate the remaining Ukrainian soldiers at Mariupol Steel Plant

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Battle For Azovstal Steel Plant: Ukraine said on Thursday that Russia was “trying to eliminate” its remaining soldiers hiding at the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol. “The Russians are trying to block and destroy Ukrainian units in the Azovstal region. With the help of aircraft, Russia has resumed the attack to take control of the plant,” Kyiv’s military said in a statement.

The statement by the Ukrainian military comes as Russia is about to begin a ceasefire announced by Russia at the steel plant where hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and some civilians have been stranded for weeks. A commander of the Azov battalion leading Mariupol’s defense said late Wednesday that Russian troops entered the plant and a “bloody battle” ensued.

‘Enemy enters steelworks enclosure’
“For two days, the enemy has entered the steelworks enclosure,” Azov commander Denis Prokopenko said in a video on Telegram. Prokopenko said Ukrainian units were “resisting” despite the outnumbering of Russians. “The situation is very difficult but despite this we are continuing to execute the rescue order,” he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday urged UN chief Antonio Guterres to “rescue” his units in Azovstal and help “remove all wounded”. The Ukrainian leader later said in a separate video address that civilians – “women and children” – were still trapped in Azovstal and that Kyiv was “talking” to rescue them. “It will take time to get people out of these underground shelters,” he said.

Mayor appeals to continue evacuation
Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boichenko on Thursday called on the United Nations and the Red Cross to continue evacuations from the southern port city. “Now we are fighting for the salvation of every person, every Mariupol resident,” he said on Telegram.

344 more Ukrainians were evacuated from Mariupol and its surroundings late on Wednesday.

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