Ukrainian soldiers facing ‘last hours’ holed up in Mauripol steel plant

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The desperate defenders of Mauripol have made a last-ditch effort to defend the besieged city by holing up in a Soviet steel factory with valuable Russian hostages, it has been claimed.

Mauripol has been under constant bombardment by Vladimir Putin's forces since the conflict began and has been all but destroyed by heavy shelling killing around 20,000 residents.

Those that remain have now retreated to the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works, a four-square-mile steel plant with a network of underground tunnels.

Speaking from the siege, one of Ukraine's top commanders, Maj. Serhiy Volyna of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade told the Washington Post how desperate the situation was.

He said: "We will not lay down our weapons, we will continue to conduct combat operations and to complete our military tasks as long as we receive them.

"It’s in the basement where people just rot. There is no medication.

"We save water together, we support each other, try to help each other as much as possible.

"Everyone is ready to continue as one."

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Tragically, it's not just soldiers sheltering in the crumbling ruins of the steel plant with 1,000 citizens thought to be living in the tunnels too.

On Monday (April 18) Mariupol city council stated that the majority of people hiding are "women with children and old people."

And running low on ammunition, Maj. Volyna has now conceded that his troops may be facing their "last hours".

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He continued: "The enemy is outnumbering us 10 to one.

“We appeal and plead to all world leaders to help us

“We ask them to use the procedure of extraction and take us to the territory of a third-party state.”

Capturing Mariupol, the main port in the southeastern region of Donbas, would be a strategic prize for Putin, connecting territory held by pro-Russian separatists in the east with the Crimea region that Moscow annexed in 2014.

A Russian ultimatum to Ukrainian troops in Mariupol to surrender or die expired this afternoon with resisters unwilling to give in.

Reuters reports that Russian-backed separatists said that just five people had answered the call to surrender.

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  • Russia Ukraine war
  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • Vladimir Putin

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