“These may be our last days and our last hours,” a Ukrainian officer said on Facebook from the besieged city of Mariupol. He called on the international community to rescue them. Watch his video message above.
“There are ten enemies for each of us,” says Serhiy Volina of the 36th Brigade, stationed on the territory of the Azovstal steel plant. Volina went viral on Tuesday with a call for help, addressed to Pope Francis, among others. “You must have seen a lot in your life, but I am sure you have not seen what is happening in Mariupol,” the letter reads. “This is hell on earth.”
First itinerary since Saturday
According to the Russians, 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers and 400 Ukrainian mercenaries are currently stationed on the territory of the steel plant. Kyiv reported that about 1,000 civilians are present there. Moscow has repeatedly called on the remaining Ukrainian soldiers to surrender. Russia Today also issued a new ultimatum: Ukrainian fighters must surrender by 2 pm.
Meanwhile, a humanitarian corridor is said to have been opened to evacuate both combatants and civilians from the factory. On Wednesday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshuk said that the evacuation would be the first since last Saturday. The corridor is for women, children and the elderly only, and Ukraine already wants to evacuate 6,000 civilians today.
The strategically important port city was completely besieged by Russian forces on 1 March. The city and port were largely in ruins.