In a video message, Lt. Col. Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov Regiment, said that for the second day in a row, “bloody fighting” is going on inside the Mariupol facility where hundreds of Ukrainian troops and civilians are surrounded by Russian forces.
“For the second day in a row since the enemy broke into the plant, heavy bloody fighting is going on,” Prokopenko said in the video, according to a translation.
Prokopenko said that his soldiers are making “superhuman efforts” to withstand the assault, and they “continue to carry out the order to keep the defense.”
Ukrainian forces inside the sprawling steel complex are believed to be the last of the defense forces in the city of Mariupol. The troops have been sheltering with civilians inside the steel plant for weeks and have faced an onslaught of artillery and airstrikes against the facility.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that a plan to storm a steel plant in Mariupol would be canceled, opting instead to seal off the Azovstal facility “so that not even a fly comes through.”
In a televised meeting with his defense minister, Putin said the Ukrainian fighters sheltering underneath the facility would be given a chance to surrender, and those that do would be treated in accordance with international conventions.
On Sunday, in a deal brokered by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, more than 100 civilians were safely evacuated from the facility.
According to a report, Russia claims it will permit the evacuation of civilians from the steel plant to continue through Saturday.