Russian invaders break into Mariupol's Azovstal, journalists say

4 May, 07:23 PM
There is no contact with the Ukrainian soldiers yet (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

There is no contact with the Ukrainian soldiers yet (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Invading Russian forces have managed to break through Ukrainian defenses at the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works, the Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper reported on May 4, citing its own sources.

According to the newspaper’s report, heavy fighting is underway on the plant's territory. The plant, a massive steel mill in the port city of Mariupol, is the last holdout of the Ukrainian defenders of the city. Hundreds of Ukrainian troops and civilians have for weeks been sheltering from the Russian bombardment of the city in a warren of underground tunnels and bomb shelters at the plant.

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Mariupol itself has been under siege by Russian forces for over two months.

"There is no contact with the Ukrainian soldiers (in Azovstal)," reads the report.

Russians forces started storming Azovstal, where hundreds of civilians had been hiding from relentless Russian shelling, on May 3.

The invaders used heavy artillery, after which they brought tanks into battle and attempted to attack from the sea.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin claimed victory in Mariupol during a meeting with his Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu on April 21, and ordered Russian forces not to assault Azovstal, but to surround it so the “not even a fly” could get out.

However, Russian bombing and shelling of the plant resumed almost immediately, and a U.S. spokesman dismissed Putin’s order as “disinformation.”

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