The Russian Army has managed to enter this Wednesday in the territory of the Azovstal steelworks, in Mariúpol, according to Ukraine, which has also lost communication with the troops that remain in the steel mill.
“We lost contact, there is no communication to find out what is happening, whether they are safe or not,” declared the mayor of the battered city, Vadym Boychenko, on Ukrainian television.
As he pointed out, an undetermined number of defenders of Azovstal protect the factory “in very difficult conditions, since they are attacked with heavy artillery, tanks, aviation and from ships at sea”, and now from inside the steel mill itself.
According to the Zvezda television channel, belonging to the Russian Ministry of DefenseRussian troops hammer Azovstal with artillery fire of 152 millimeters and multiple Grad launchers, in order to prevent “the Ukrainian military from leaving the catacombs”.
This escalation, which began the day before, makes the rescue operation of trapped civilians uncertain with the agreement of the governments of Ukraine and Russia, with the collaboration of the UN and the support of the Red Cross.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to help him evacuate civilians still trapped in Azovstal.
Russia denies that it intends to take the plant by storm
On Tuesday, 159 people were evacuated from the Mariupol area., devastated by heavy fighting in the previous weeks, of which 101 people had been trapped inside the plant for more than two months. However, according to Boychenko, some 200 civilians would be trapped in the steelworks.
Despite the latest news and the siege on Azovstal, “the Mariupol humanitarian operation continues,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk assured on Wednesday in her Telegram account, assuring that the evacuation will take place ” if the security situation allows it.
By this Wednesday, Ukraine had announced four evacuee assembly points in Mariupol, Berdyansk, Tokmak and Vasilivka, from which civilians would move to the Ukrainian-controlled area of Zaporizhia, north of Mariupol.
And although the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri peskovhe has denied that Russia intends to take the plant by storm and has pointed out that the Russian troops that have blocked the metallurgical factory intervene only to “repress” the attempts of the Ukrainian combatants to occupy “combat positions”, this does not alleviate the situation of the trapped civilians.
Moscow has justified this escalation on the grounds that the troops entrenched in Azovstal took advantage of the humanitarian ceasefire to resume their combat positions at the plant.
Slow offensive in Donbas
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Army also acknowledged this Wednesday in the morning report that Russian troops continue their offensive in the Donbas region, but has claimed to have repelled 12 Russian attacks.
For its part, Russia has reported an attack on the Ukrainian railway network, with the destruction of six electrical substations in towns in the Lviv, kyiv and Odessa regions, in order to prevent the supply of Ukrainian troops on the eastern front. , particularly with weapons from the West.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has also published a video of the launch of Kalibr missiles from the Black Sea against Ukrainian military targets, without specifying which ones.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.