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Russia Continues ‘Assault’ On Mariupol’s Azovstal Plant

Channels Television  
Updated May 6, 2022
This undated video grab was taken from a handout footage published on May 4, 2022 by the Interior Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) on Telegram shows smoke billowing from Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant. EDITOR’S NOTE : AFP hasn’t managed to verify the date of when the video was shot. Marie-Laure MESSANA / Interior Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic / AFP

 

 

Ukraine said Friday that Russia is pressing on with “assault operations” on the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, where Kyiv’s remaining soldiers defending the battered port city and some civilians are holed up. 

“The blockade of (Ukrainian) defence forces in the Azovstal area continues,” said a Kyiv army spokesman in a video.

“In some areas, with aviation support, there are resumed assault operations to take control of the plant.”

The statement came after Kyiv said another civilian evacuation from the Azovstal plant was planned for Friday.

The Russian army had announced a three-day ceasefire at the plant starting Thursday to allow civilians to leave but a Ukrainian commander said Moscow’s forces had violated that promise.

The commander also pleaded for the evacuation of civilians from the tunnels of Azovstal and for help for Ukrainian soldiers “dying” of their wounds.

Capturing Azovstal would allow Moscow to announce full control of Mariupol, a strategic port in the Azov Sea vastly destroyed since the Russian invasion.

Kyiv alleges Moscow is planning a parade in Mariupol for May 9, when Russia marks ‘Victory Day’ in honour of the Soviet defeat of the Nazis, celebrated with military pomp on the Red Square.

Kyiv’s presidential advisor Mikhaylo Podolyak accused Moscow on Friday of planning to parade Ukrainian prisoners on May 9, comparing it to a parade held by pro-Russian separatists when they seized the city of Donetsk in 2014.

“24.09.14 ‘parade of prisoners’ was held in Donetsk, where soldiers of the Ukrainian army were walked through the streets, while garbage was thrown into them,” Podolyak said on Twitter.

“Eight years later, the Kremlin decided to repeat the ‘play’ on 9th of May in Mariupol with civilians in military uniform.”

Russia has not confirmed any plans to hold a parade in Mariupol.

Moscow-backed separatists in southeastern Ukraine said they had taken down traffic signs spelling out the name of Mariupol in Ukrainian and English and replaced them with Russian ones.