Ukrainian officials say the besieged soldiers at the Azovstal steel mill have come under Russian bombardment again.
Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the Mariupol mayor, said planes dropped heavy bombs on the plant “because very powerful explosions are heard. People also saw columns of smoke.
“As far as I understand, the Russians may try to launch ground attacks after the bombing ends,” he said.
“The territory of the plant is huge, they [the Russians] trying to breach the facility, gain a foothold and find entrances and exits to the underground areas — where the field hospital is, where our defenders are,” Andriushcheko said.
So far, their attempts to break into the facility had not been very successful. “And that’s what provokes the new shelling, the new artillery cover for these ground operations,” Andriushchenko said.
He also said that more people were returning to Mariupol because the Russians would not let them into Ukrainian-held territory.
“People are returning due to the actual closure of all green corridors across the Russian Federation. People who settled in Mariupol, Nikolske and Berdyansk districts and cannot get to Zaporizhia are forced to return to the city, to their homes. At the same time, we haven’t seen an increase in food supplies,” he said.
According to Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, the International Red Cross is discussing with Russian officials the fate of the seriously injured still trapped in Azovstal.
“We have started a new round of negotiations on the roadmap for the special operation. Let’s start with the seriously injured,” she said.
“We want a document to be signed: how exactly the evacuation from Azovstal will take place, we are preparing to sign it.”
Vereshchuk said Turkey has agreed to act as a mediator in the current round of talks.
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