Russian Attacks on Mariupol Steelworks Intensify 

Russian forces are escalating assaults in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine. 

After Russian forces re-focused their attacks away from the north of the country and the capital city Kyiv, they are now trying to take full control of the Donbas region in order to create a land bridge from Russia to Crimea. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. 

The Ukrainian military said that Russian forces are focusing efforts on blocking and destroying units within the Azovstal steelworks, where soldiers and civilians have been holed up for two horrific months. 

Civilians are finally being evacuated from the besieged and destroyed city of Mariupol. Another 344 civilians were evacuated from the southern port city, and are now on the way to the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia. 

A Ukrainian military commander said that his forces in Mariupol are fighting “heavy, blood battles” with Russian troops at the steelworks. Hundreds of civilians still remain there, holed up in the network of underground bunkers. Civilians, including women and children, will need to be dug out from the bunkers by hand if Russian forces storm the site. 

The steelworks has come to represent the last pocket of resistance in the besieged city, which has seen some of the worst atrocities in the war. 

Mariupol itself is in ruins. Russian forces have obliterated the city. Russian officials denied that troops are storming the plant. 

Mariupol’s Mayor, Vadym Boychenko, said that Russian forces are targeting the steelworks with heavy artillery, tanks, aircraft, warships, and heavy bombs. 

News of Mariupol comes as Moscow’s forces have bombarded railway stations and other supply-line targets across Ukraine in order to disrupt the delivery of western weapons. The Russian military said that it was using sea and air missiles to destroy electric power facilities at five railway stations across the country. They also struck troop strongholds and fuel and ammunition depots. 

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