A Ukrainian commander inside the ruins of the Azovstal complex in Mariupol has recorded a video message saying that heavy fighting continues.
"It's been the third day that the enemy has broken through to the territory of Azovstal. Fierce bloody combat is ongoing," said Sviatoslav Palamar, the Azov regiment’s deputy commander.
"The defenders of the city have been fighting alone for 71 days with the overwhelming forces of the enemy and show such endurance and heroism that the country must know what it means to be loyal to the motherland," Palamar said on Telegram.
He said the Russians had broken their pledge to allow civilians to leave through evacuation corridors Thursday.
"Once again, the Russians violated the promise of a truce and did not allow evacuation for civilians who continue to hide in the basements of the Azovstal plant. I call on the world community to evacuate civilians," Palamar said.
He also made an appeal to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying: "I personally appeal to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief to take care of the wounded soldiers who are dying in terrible agony from improper treatment. Give the opportunity to pick up the bodies of soldiers so that Ukrainians can say goodbye to their heroes. Respond appropriately to a critical situation in which the enemy does not adhere to any ethical norms."
After about 100 civilians were able to leave the plant Sunday, none have emerged since. There are thought to be between 200 and 300 civilians still inside the plant, including 30 children. Since Sunday, it has been bombarded from land, sea and air.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed reports Thursday that the Russian army had broken into the territory of the plant, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to avoid storming of the plant was still in place.