Ukraine: Russia bombards Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant
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Reports on the bizarre plans of the Russian forces were confirmed by Petro Andryushchenko, advisor to the mayor of Mariupol. It comes as the Ukrainian intelligence service earlier reported that the city is being prepared for a Russian military parade on May 9 for Victory Day, which commemorates the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
Mariupol “will become the centre of celebrations”, said intelligence service in a statement published on Telegram.
The statement added: “The main avenues of the city are [being] urgently cleaned, the debris and the bodies of the dead removed, as well as the ammunition which did not explode”.
Mr Andryushchenko claimed having heard that Russians intend to put Ukrainian army uniforms on civilians for a twisted “parade of prisoners”.
Mr Andryushchenko said many of Mariupol’s men had been forcibly removed and separated from women and children after fleeing the city.
He said: “Men have been forcibly detained without being allowed to leave without a convoy of Russian troops.
“The conditions are terrible – people are forced to sleep on the floor in the corridors. Medical care is not provided.
“As for the future the occupiers emphasise that they have not yet decided whether to use people as labour or mobilise them to the Army as prisoners.
“Why should they be disguised as Ukrainian soldiers?”
On Friday, it was reported that around 500 civilians have been evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
British military intelligence said that Russian forces continue their ground assault at the plant where civilians and military forces are sheltering.
Head of President Zelensky’s office said: “The next stage of rescuing our people from Azovstal is underway at the moment”.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that people, including women and children, who are sheltering underground need to be dug out from the rubble under which they are buried alive.
He said: “It takes time to just lift people out of these basements, out of underground shelters.
“In the current conditions we cannot use special equipment to clear the debris.
“Everything is done manually but we believe everything will work out.”
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