Ukrainian civilians and troops who have been holed up in the besieged Azovstal steel plant for around two months are under heavy fighting by Russian forces.
Mariupol’s Mayor Vadym Boichenko said, that fierce fighting has broken out for the territory of Azovstal metallurgical plant started again on Wednesday, Russian forces are shelling the positions of the Ukrainian army from artillery mounts, aircraft, tanks and ships.
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There are still more than 30 children who have been hiding in the steel works since the full scale invasion started, along with hundreds of civilians, the Mayor said.
Boichenko announced on Wednesday, “Today there are heavy battles on the territory of our fortress – Azovstal. Our brave guys are defending this fortress, but it is very difficult, because they are working on this fortress from heavy artillery, working with tanks, aircraft, the ships have approached and are also extinguishing this fortress.”
He added, “Unfortunately, communication with the guys [Ukrainian soldiers at Azovstal plant] was lost today.
“There is no communication in order to understand what is happening, whether they are safe or not.
“Yesterday there was still communication, today I cannot comment on anything,” the Mayor said.
“We pray for our heroic guys. And we thank them for the feat that they have already accomplished for our entire country today.
“They held back the enemy. They gave us more time to prepare. They are real courageous and very heroic Defenders of Mariupol. Many thanks to them for this,” Boichenko said.
Forbes McKenzie, the chief executive of McKenzie intelligence told Sky News that Ukraine’s Azov battalion who are holed up at the steel works have a far right ideology, this will play in to Vladimir Putin’s claims that he is attempting to “denazify” the country.
McKenzie who is a former British Army intelligence officer added, “Should there be a success, it will give Putin a good news story in his speech, which is expected to take place on the 9 May Victory Day.”