Smoke rise after shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022.
Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press
- Russian forces attacked a steel plant where Ukrainian forces are sheltering, The Associated Press reported.
- The announcement from Ukrainian officials comes two days after Putin called off an attack on the plant.
- Officials say there are about 2,000 troops and 1,000 civilians in Mariupol’s Azovstal plant.
Russian forces stormed a Mariupol steel plant where remaining Ukrainian forces and civilians are sheltering, Ukrainian officials said.
The Associated Press reported that Oleksiy Arestovich, an advisor for Ukraine’s presidential office, said Russian forces have resumed airstrikes on the Azovstal plant and were trying to storm it on Saturday.
There are at least 1,000 civilians taking shelter alongside an estimated 2,000 troops in the plant’s underground bunkers, Reuters reported.
Arestovich announcement comes two days after Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu told Russian President Vladimir Putin that besides the steel plant, the rest of Mariupol was under Russian control. Putin at that time called off an offensive on the plant.
He called on remaining Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms and said Russia would guarantee them “their lives and dignified treatment.”
Major Serhiy Volyna, the commander of the remaining Ukrainian forces, previously told Insider’s Mattathias Schwartz and Michael Fedynsky that they won’t lay down their arms.
“We’re not even considering that possibility,” Volyna said.
Mariupol has been under siege by Russian forces since the start of the invasion at the end of February. Ukrainian officials have previously estimated that over 100,000 people are still trapped in the city.
Ukrainian officials said that at least 21,000 have died in Mariupol. Earlier this week, satellite images showed mass grave sites in the towns surrounding Mariupol, Insider reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has previously called Russia’s attacks “genocide” and said negotiations could end if Russia kills Mariupol’s remaining forces.
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