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Russia will attack Azovstal despite promising ceasefire

Ukraine’s military said Russian forces were “trying to destroy the last defenders of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol”, despite Russia’s announcement of a ceasefire from Thursday morning.

“We are attacking and trying to destroy Ukrainian units in the area of ​​Russian-occupied Azovstal,” the Ukrainian military said in a statement released this morning. ,

The condemnation of the Ukrainian military came just hours after the Kremlin (Russian presidency) announced on Wednesday night that its forces would hold a ceasefire for three consecutive days, starting this Thursday at 05:00 GMT (06:00 in Lisbon) , so that permission may be given. Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boichenko said the evacuation of about 200 civilians still present in Azovstal.

The commander of the Azov regiment, Denis Prokopenko, who leads the site’s defense, indicated, in turn, in a video released on Wednesday night, that Russian forces had managed to enter the steelworks and “violent and bloody fighting” there. fought.

“The enemy has been inside the factory premises for two days,” he admitted in a video posted on the Telegram messaging network. He said, “I am proud of my soldiers as they are making superhuman efforts to resist the enemy attack. I am grateful to the whole world for the immense support extended to the Mariupol garrison. Our soldiers deserve it.”

The Azovstal factory, a vast steel complex crossed by underground networks, has been the last stronghold of resistance by Ukrainian fighters against Russian forces in Mariupol, a city with a strategic port.

The surrender or capture of these troops would be a significant victory for Moscow. Mayor Vadim Boichenko also this Thursday called for the continuation of civilian evacuations from the city carried out with the help of the United Nations and the International Red Cross. “We are fighting together to save every person, every resident of Mariupol,” he assured.

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Fighting remains fierce in other parts of the country, particularly in eastern Ukraine, where, according to the governor of the Donetsk region, a residential area in Kramatorsk was attacked during the night in which 25 civilians were injured.

About the author: Sarah Gracie

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