There are conflicting reports over the status of one of Ukraine’s key industrial facilities – the Azov Steel plant in Mariupol.
Late Friday, a government advisor reported the plant was in Russian hands after ongoing battles with Ukrainian troops for control of the seafront site.
But in an update Saturday, the Azov battalion, which has a large presence in Mariupol, said the plant remained in their hands.
“The enemy has not reached this far into the city. The [Ukrainian] navy, along with the Azov battalion, along with the police, continue defending the city and its civilians,” battalion member Vladislav Sobolievskyi told Ukrainian television.
“Today the Azov Steel plant is under our control. Air strikes hit the whole city, including the plant, but the enemy has not laid his hands on our plant.”
The giant steelworks lies immediately to the east of Mariupol city centre. Losing control of the facility to Russian forces would be a huge setback to Ukrainian efforts to hang on to the city.