Russian ground operation underway to capture encircled Azovstal plant in Mariupol

13 May, 02:52 PM
The invaders have launched a ground operation to capture Azovstal (Photo:Azov Regiment/Handout via REUTERS)

The invaders have launched a ground operation to capture Azovstal (Photo:Azov Regiment/Handout via REUTERS)

The Russian invaders have not given up in their attempts to capture the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, and launched a ground operation to that effect, an advisorr to the mayor of Mariupol, Petro Andryushchenko, reported on Telegram messenger on May 13.

Russia's war against Ukraine - the main events of May 13

"The invaders are trying to break into the plant premises on the ground under the cover of shelling, practically as we speak,” Andryushchenko stated.

“The situation is getting more complicated by the day.”

Russian invaders have been storming the Azovstal steelworks for the past week, though its Ukrainian defenders have held the line – despite being completely encircled. They have even been able to pull off some counterattacks. After the Russians bombed a field hospital at the fact, the number of wounded sheltering within increased from 170 to 600 people, the Mariupol City Council reported.

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The defenders of Mariupol have repeatedly appealed to the world community for help with evacuation from the factory, and have asked for an “extraction” procedure, where they would be evacuated from the plant by a third country and barred from returning to Ukraine for the duration of hostilities, as long as they could remove their wounded and dead.

Mariupol has been blockaded by Russian invaders for over two months. Their actions have resulted in a large-scale humanitarian catastrophe in the city. The invaders have destroyed residential neighborhoods and civilian infrastructure and are blocking humanitarian aid. According to preliminary data, 25,000 people have been killed in Mariupol. 100,000 people are still waiting to be evacuated from the city.

After lengthy talks, the Russian side finally opened a humanitarian corridor from the plant for civilians on May 1.

On May 7, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that more than 300 civilians had been evacuated from Azovstal, and preparations were underway for the second stage of the evacuation mission, which would rescue the wounded and medics. On May 10, the President said that Russia has not agreed to any of the options offered by Ukraine to save the Ukrainian defenders in Mariupol.

Russian public figures have called for the elimination of the defenders entirely, or at best, their capture and trial in front of a Russian military tribunal.

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