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Russia storms Mariupol steel plant as some evacuees reach safety

Russian forces stormed the steel mill that was the last remaining resistance in Mariupol.

After evacuations from the bombed out plant were completed, scores of Ukrainian survivors reached safety after spending long nights and days trapped inside.

One woman stated that the assault started “as soon we were taken out” from the plant in the Ukrainian port.

Another described the “animal fear” she felt after the bomb struck the building in which she was living.

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Mariupol Mayor Vadym Borichenko stated that 200 civilians may still be inside the steelworks. He also said that there are 100,000 people who remain in Mariupol.

The Soviet-era plant was a symbol for Ukrainian resistance and defiance.

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Dozens of people have been evacuated from Azovstal’s steel plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zilenskyy stated in his nightly video address that Russian forces stormed the building, violating agreements regarding safe evacuations.

Image: Ukrainian President Volodymyrzelenskyy

He stated that the initial evacuations were not yet a victory, but they are already a result.

He added, “I believe there is still a chance for saving other people.”


Key developments

* UK PM addresses Ukraine parliament and tells them that ‘Ukraine will win the war and be free’

* Pope Francis has offered to meet Putin but has not heard back

* Russian TV has a captured British aid worker.

* German opposition leader visits Ukraine; Chancellor refuses.

In its most recent intelligence update, the UK’s Ministry of Defence stated that Russia had deployed 22 tactical battalion units near Izium as part of an “attempt” to advance along the Donbass northern axis.

It stated that despite the difficulties in breaking through Ukrainian defenses and building momentum, Russia is highly likely to continue beyond Izium to seize the cities Kramatorsk or Severodonetsk.

“Capturing these areas would consolidate Russian military command of the northeastern Donbas, and serve as a staging area for their efforts at cutting off Ukrainian forces from the region.”

Other battlefield developments included the shelling by Russian troops of a chemical plant in Avdiivka’s eastern city, killing at most 10 people, Pavlo Kyrylenko, Donetsk regional governor, said.

“The Russians knew exactly what to target – the workers had just finished their shift, and were waiting for a Bus at a Bus Stop to take them home,” Kyrylenko wrote in Telegram. He also stated that the move was “another cynical Crime by Russians on our Land”.

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Lviv, in the western Ukraine, was also impacted by explosions, which were heard near the Polish border.

Three power substations were damaged, causing electricity outages in some areas of the city, and disrupting water supply, according to the mayor.

Lviv was a refuge for refugees fleeing eastern fighting and a hub for NATO-supplied arms.

Authorities said that a rocket also struck an infrastructure facility in Transcarpathia in Transcarpathia. This is a far western region of Ukraine bordering Poland, Hungary and Romania.

No immediate information was available about any casualties.


Under attack

Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesperson for the Russian Defence Ministry, stated that Russian artillery and aircraft had struck hundreds of targets over the past day. These included command posts, troop strongholds and positions, fuel and ammunition depots, and radar equipment.

Officials in Ukraine also stated that the infrastructure of the country’s railroads was still being attacked.

Oleksandr Kamyshin (head of the Ukrainian railways) stated that Russian strikes had struck six stations in Ukraine’s central and west regions on Tuesday, inflicting severe damage.

Unspecified casualties were also reported by the Ukrainian military from strikes on railways in Kirovohrad.

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