Invading Russian forces have killed 25,000 people in the besieged port city of Mariupol, Azov Regiment intelligence officer Illia Samoilenko said at a press conference from the Azovstal steel works on May 8.
He said that such a siege of city, which has lasted for the last two-and-a-half months, with so many casualties among enemy troops and civilians, has never been seen before in history.
"What strikes me most is that small groups are being evacuated," Samoilenko said.
"Politicians note small victories, such as the evacuation of tens and hundreds of people, while more than 25,000 people were killed by the Russian army."
Speaking about the civilians at Azovstal, the officer said that there were several thousand of them inside the plant. They fled the city and found refuge here.
"Civilians are a sticking point for the military," he said.
"If there were no civilians here, the city would be just a battlefield. But we defended them because it was our duty. We placed them in bunkers away from our positions. We provided them with medical care, food, and water, and shared all the resources we had."
Meanwhile, the Russian continue to try to storm the Azovstal plant. At first, Russian troops fired heavy artillery, but later brought tanks into battle and began attacking under their cover.
At the same time, Russia is not giving an evacuation corridor to the defenders of Mariupol, who continue to hold the besieged Azovstal plant. They have repeatedly asked to be extracted from the plant.
Mariupol has been blocked by the Russian invaders for more than two months. The city has already faced a large-scale humanitarian catastrophe. The invaders bombed residential areas and civilian infrastructure, as well as blocking humanitarian aid.
After long negotiations and diplomatic efforts, on May 1, Russia finally opened a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from the plant.
On May 8, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that over 300 civilians had been evacuated from Azovstal.
Preparations are underway for the second stage of the evacuation mission to rescue the wounded, and medical personnel.