Ukraine War

More than 30 children still trapped in Mariupol steel plant where heavy fighting still continues


Mariupol ~ Ukraine
The damaged Azovstal steel plant pictured on 3 May, 2022. (Photo: Reuters)

The mayor of Mariupol claimed that heavy fighting continues inside the Azovstal steel complex, where dozens of youngsters remain trapped.

Vadym Boichenko claimed that more than 30 youngsters remain trapped at the location, which is Ukraine's final stronghold in the port city. Ukrainian officials, he continued, had also lost contact with soldiers stationed at the large steelworks.

"There are fierce battles taking place today on the territory of our fortress, on the territory of Azovstal," he explained. "Our valiant men are defending this fortress, but it is extremely difficult, as heavy artillery and tanks are firing throughout; aviation is operating; and ships have approached and are firing on the fortress as well."

Teams from the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross arrived in Mariupol late last week to supervise Azovstal evacuations. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres later announced that over 100 civilians had been rescued from the besieged factory.

"I hope that continued coordination with Kyiv and Moscow results in additional humanitarian pauses that allow civilians to flee the fighting safely and aid to reach those in greatest need," he said.

The first refugees from Azovstal arrived at the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday, after weeks spent underground avoiding Russian airstrikes.

A 70-year-old woman said she had given up hope of being rescued after living in Azovstal for two months with her son and little granddaughter. "We had bid farewell to life. We were under the impression that no one knew we were there," Valentina Sytnykova explained.

Around 200 residents are believed to remain trapped at Azovstal, while tens of thousands remain in other sections of the city, according to Mariupol Mayor Boichenko.

The governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, stated Wednesday that another convoy of buses had departed Mariupol in the direction of Zaporizhzhia. However, he did not indicate the number of cars or whether any of the evacuees were from Azovstal.

This comes amid claims from Ukrainian intelligence that the Kremlin is planning a parade in Mariupol on 9 May, the day Russia commemorated the defeat of the Nazis in 1945.

The Kyiv Independent reports that preparations are being made to clean Mariupol's streets of "debris, unexploded ordnance, and... the bodies of those killed."

At least 6,469 civilians have been killed, according to the UN, since Vladimir Putin's conflict began on 24 February. It admitted, however, that the actual figure is almost certainly substantially higher.

Publish : 2022-05-05 09:44:00

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