| 26 February 2024, Monday |

Russian forces pummel Ukrainian fighters holed up in Mariupol steel plant, says mayoral aide

According to a local official, Russian forces pounded a massive steel works in Mariupol on Wednesday, where the city’s last defenders and some civilians are holed up.

An aide to the city mayor, Petro Andryushchenko, said there had been no pause in air strikes on the Azovstal plant, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin saying there was no need to storm it after declaring victory in Mariupol.

According to local officials, much of Mariupol has been destroyed in weeks of Russian bombardment and siege since Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, and that approximately 100,000 civilians remain in the city. Hundreds of fighters and civilians are believed to be still inside the massive steel works.

Officials in Ukraine have called the situation in Mariupol, a strategic port on the Sea of Azov, a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

On Wednesday, Andryushchenko stated that no agreements had been reached regarding the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol. Several previous attempts to arrange a ceasefire to allow residents to leave the city have failed.

  • Reuters