NOTfter the evacuation of around 150 people from the Azov steel plant in Mariupol, southern Ukraine, on Wednesday, Ukrainian fighters and likely large numbers of civilians continued to be entrenched in the plant. Mayor Vadym Boichenko reported “heavy fighting” at the site.
The Kremlin had recently denied a major attack. Meanwhile, Russian attacks continued in other Ukrainian regions. According to the authorities, 21 people were killed in the Donetsk region.
Boichenko told Ukrainian television that contact with Ukrainian soldiers at the Azov plant had been lost. The authorities therefore do not know whether the Ukrainian soldiers there are “safe or not”. The Azov regiment entrenched in the factory on Tuesday accused the Russian army of launching a major attack on the factory.
Russia attacked the steelworks with ground troops and tanks, the Azov regiment reported on the Telegram online service. Two women were killed and a dozen other civilians injured in the shelling that preceded the attack. The steel plant represents the last stronghold of Ukrainian fighters in the strategically important port city of Mariupol.
According to Mayor Boichenko, around 200 civilians were still on the premises of the Azov steelworks. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday evening, 156 civilians were brought from Mariupol to Ukrainian-held Zaporizhia during the previous evacuation operation carried out by the UN and the Red Cross. Another evacuation campaign is planned for Wednesday, “if the security situation allows it”, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Wereshchuk said.
Moscow has denied a major attack on the Azov steel plant. “There is no storming,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Almost three weeks ago, President Vladimir Putin ordered a halt to all attacks on steel mills.
On April 21, Putin gave the order to continue to besiege the factory – so tightly that “no more fly can get out”. Storming the complex with numerous underground tunnels made no sense, Putin said at the time.
The Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday accused Ukrainian soldiers of using the ceasefire decreed due to the evacuations to move into new positions at the vast factory site. These would now be attacked with artillery and from the air, the Russian military said.
More than a month after the withdrawal of Russian troops, new corpses of civilians are found almost daily in the vicinity of kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. As of Wednesday, a total of 1,235 murdered civilians had been discovered, regional administration chief Olexander Pavlyuk told the Telegram news service on Wednesday. Of these, 282 are still unidentified. It was only on Tuesday that 20 new victims showing signs of torture were brought to the morgue.
Russia targets infrastructure across Ukraine
According to Ukrainian sources, the Russian army attacked various infrastructure areas across the country. Oleksandr Kamyshin, head of Ukrainian Railways, said Tuesday’s attacks targeted six stations in central and western Ukraine. This resulted in serious damage.
Dnipro region governor Valentin Resnichenko said Russian missiles hit railway infrastructure in the area. One person was injured. Rail service has been interrupted. The Ukrainian army reported similar attacks in the Kirovohrad region. There were an unknown number of casualties.
According to media reports, parts of the western city of Lviv were also without power after three power stations were damaged by rockets, according to Mayor Andriy Sadowyj. As a result, he said, there were also problems with the water supply as pumps broke down due to a lack of electricity.
The Russian military fired more than 20 missiles at Ukraine, Ukrainian Air Force Commander Yuri Ignat wrote on Facebook. Many missiles were fired from long-range bombers over the Caspian Sea. Ukrainian air defenses intercepted eight enemy cruise missiles. These military details were not independently verifiable.
Vinnytsia in the center, Odessa in the southwest and Kirovograd in the center of the country were also attacked. For the first time since the start of the Russian war of aggression on February 24, the Transcarpathian region near the border with Hungary was also attacked with rockets, as reported by regional governor Viktor Mikita in the service Telegram online.
According to kyiv leaders, Russia wants to stop Western arms supply with rocket attacks on Ukrainian railway lines. This was written by the head of the presidential office, Andriy Yermak, on Telegram on Tuesday evening. But it will not be possible to stop the supply of armaments, Yermak said. “Everything matters.”
Politically, President Volodymyr Zelenskyj interpreted the attacks as a sign of Moscow’s impotence. “Obviously the Russian military reacted extremely nervously to our successes today,” Zelenskyy said in his evening video address in Kyiv. He reported rocket attacks on Lviv, Vinnytsia, Odessa, Kyiv region and Dnipro region.
However, a clear military target could not be identified as even Transkapatia in the far west on the border with Hungary was bombed. The Russians only covered up their helplessness “because Ukraine is too strong for them”, Zelenskyy said.
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