The escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine remains in focus as Russian forces continue their siege of Mariupol.
A port city of critical strategic importance, Mariupol’s destiny hinges on its Azovstal steel plant, which remains under the control of Ukrainian forces despite relentless Russian attacks.
Officials say hundreds of civilians are sheltering in the plant’s basements, and a Mariupol police official told CNN that food and water supplies are dwindling amid heavy shelling.
A corridor has been agreed with Russia for the evacuation of women, children and the elderly from Mariupol, according to Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, but Russian forces are reportedly trying to advance to a town that is part of the route.
Here are the latest developments in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict:
The Siege of Mariupol continues: Despite weeks of massive attacks as Russia attempts to “close the circle” around Mariupol, the Ukrainians continue to defend the city. However, conditions could soon worsen, with a Ukrainian military commander telling CNN of one of the last holdouts that they may have “only a few days or even hours left”.
Ironworks “completely surrounded”: Ukrainian troops and civilians remain trapped in the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol under Russian bombardment. About 1,000 civilians, including women, children and the elderly, were sheltering inside the factory, Myhailo Vershynin, head of the Mariupol police patrol, told CNN earlier this week. The commander of Ukraine’s 36th Separate Marine Brigade, Major Serhii Volyna, told CNN by phone Tuesday night that the plant was “completely surrounded” and requested international assistance to evacuate hundreds of soldiers and civilians. .
Evacuation corridor for Mariupol agreed: Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Wednesday that a corridor had been agreed with Russia for the evacuation of women, children and the elderly from Mariupol. She said the convoy was to move from the besieged city to Manhush, then through the Russian city of Berdyansk, then north towards the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia.
Russian forces attempt to advance on the Corridor town: Zaporizhzhia, part of the evacuation corridor, is heading towards an attempted advance by Russian forces, the city’s regional council said on Wednesday. As fighting intensifies in the east of the country, the council said the Russian army was trying to advance ‘in the direction’ of Zaporizhzhia ‘but suffered losses and concentrated its main efforts on keeping the borders occupied’ .
EU officials shed light on allegations war crimes: Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Tuesday that Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is “comparable to the darkest pages of our European history”, adding “there can be no impunity for war crimes “. On Wednesday, European Council President Charles Michel said “history will not forget the war crimes” committed in Ukraine.
A Russian billionaire blows up the war: Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov blasted Russia’s war in Ukraine, calling on the West to do more to “stop this slaughter” in an Instagram post on Tuesday. “I do not see a single beneficiary of this senseless war,” wrote the founder of Tinkoff Bank. Tinkov was among 65 people and entities sanctioned by the UK for “supporting the unlawful invasion of Russia”.