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Moment Russia blitzes Mariupol steel plant in bloody last stand with Ukrainians

THIS is the horror moment huge explosions ripped through the Mariupol steel plant as Russian forces blasted the bomb-blitzed site with thermobaric missiles.

As brave Ukrainians stage a desperate final stand against Putin’s troops in the besieged city, Russian fighters have stormed the sprawling Azovstal complex where hundreds of terrified civilians remain trapped in “hell” in bunkers.

Dramatic footage shows the Azovtsal steel works being blitzed by Russian forces

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Dramatic footage shows the Azovtsal steel works being blitzed by Russian forcesCredit: Twitter
It is the final holdout for Ukrainians in the besieged city of Mariupol

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It is the final holdout for Ukrainians in the besieged city of MariupolCredit: Twitter
Hundreds of civilians - including children - remain trapped in the plant's bunkers and tunnels

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Hundreds of civilians – including children – remain trapped in the plant’s bunkers and tunnelsCredit: Reuters
Ukrainian defenders are staging a final stand against Russian troops at the works

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Ukrainian defenders are staging a final stand against Russian troops at the worksCredit: Rex

The devastated Mariupol factory faced airstrikes and bombardment by tanks and naval guns as attempts were made to land infantry by boat after a ceasefire to evacuate the trapped collapsed.

Horrifyingdrone footage has emerged showing the works – the port city’s last remaining holdout – being blitzed by what appear to be thermobaric rockets.

In the clip released by the Donetsk People’s Republic, fireball explosions can be seen rippling through the site as plumes of thick black smoke fill the air.

With Russian forces continuing to storm the plant, communications have been lost with the brave Ukrainian defenders holding at the site.

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He said there was no way of knowing “what’s going on, whether they are safe or not”.

The steel plant is the final piece of Mariupol still under Ukrainian control as defenders frantically try to stop the strategic port city falling to Putin’s butchers.

But Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu has claimed the besieged city had already been captured by Moscow’s forces, reports Ria.

In a conference call, he said: “Peaceful life is being established in the territories of the LPR and DPR and Ukraine liberated from nationalists.

“Including in Mariupol , the largest industrial and transport hub on the Sea of ​​Azov.

“It is under the control of the Russian army.”

As many as 400 civilians remain trapped in bunkers and tunnels below the site amid calls for a ceasefire – which saw 101 people rescued – to be extended.

Most of the 50 rescue buses departed empty leaving those remaining in the only corner of the besieged port city free of Russian occupation wondering if they would ever make it out alive.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that only 101 civilians managed to escape before the shelling resumed.

Most arrived yesterday at a refugee centre in Zaporizhzhia.

Many had taken refuge in the plant when the war began in February.

‘GET OUT OF HELL’

None appeared hungry, leading to hopes that enough food remains for the civilians and 2,000 troops — including the Azov Battalion and marines who have vowed to fight to the end.

Red Cross chief Pascal Hundt confirmed last night that “hostilities have resumed”.

He added: “There is intense fighting in and around Azovstal. We really have concern.”

He said of the evacuation: “We would have hoped that much more people would be able to join the convoy to get out of hell. It was just a terrible situation.

“Nonetheless, we managed to facilitate safe passage for a few. Their testimonies are heart-breaking.”

Sviatoslav Palamar, a commander at the site — dubbed The Alamo for the soldiers’ last stand — said: “A powerful assault is under way with support from armoured vehicles and tanks.”

He said Russia was trying “to land a large number of infantry by boat”.

“We will do everything we can to repel this assault, but we call for immediate measures to evacuate civilians,” he added.

The UN-backed evacuation from the plant, where fighting began soon after the February 24 invasion, was due to last 24 hours but continued for five days before the ceasefire broke down.

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It was unclear how many Ukrainian fighters were still inside, but the Russians put the number at about 2,000 in recent weeks, and 500 were reported to be wounded.

It comes as the Russian military said it used sea- and air-launched missiles to destroy electric power facilities at five railway stations across Ukraine, while artillery and aircraft also struck troop strongholds and fuel and ammunition depots.

The flurry of attacks comes as Russia prepares to celebrate Victory Day on May 9, marking the Soviet Unions defeat of Nazi Germany.

The world is watching for whether Putin will use the occasion to declare a victory or expand what he calls a special military operation.

A declaration of all-out war would allow Putin to introduce martial law and mobilize reservists to make up for significant troop losses.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the speculation as nonsense.

As areas across Ukraine came under renewed attack, Belarus, which Russia used as a staging ground for its invasion, announced military exercises starting Wednesday.

A top Ukrainian official said the country will be ready to act if Belarus joins the fighting.

The attacks on rail infrastructure were meant to disrupt the delivery of Western weapons, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

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Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the West is stuffing Ukraine with weapons.

The governor of the eastern Donetsk region, which lies in the Donbas, said Russian attacks left 21 people dead on Tuesday – the highest number of known fatalities since April 8 – when a missile attack on the railway station in Kramatorsk killed at least 59.

Dozens of civilians were this week rescued from the bomb-blitzed steel works

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Dozens of civilians were this week rescued from the bomb-blitzed steel worksCredit: Reuters
The holdout has been blitzed by Russian troops

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The holdout has been blitzed by Russian troopsCredit: AP



Reference-www.thesun.co.uk

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