Russian attacks on the besieged southern port city of Mariupol continue and the situation remains "brutal and unchanged," according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Conditions may soon worsen, with a Ukrainian military commander telling CNN from one of the remaining holdouts that they may have "only a few days or even hours left."
Here are the latest developments:
- Ukrainians still defending city: Mariupol continues to be in Ukrainian control, the Donetsk’s military governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said, and the changing Russian tactics — including an offensive to the south — are an attempt to further "close the circle" around the city.
- Troops and civilians trapped at steel plant: Maj. Serhii Volyna spoke by phone with CNN and requested international assistance with evacuating hundreds of troops and civilians trapped in the Azovstal steel plant under heavy Russian bombardment. The situation is "critical," he said, with a number of wounded troops and limited medical care, adding "We are completely surrounded."
- Video purportedly shows women and children sheltering: A video shared by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs appears to show dozens of children and families who have been sheltering for weeks at the plant. CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the video or when it was taken. However, after reviewing thousands of photos and videos of the steel plant, the walls of the shelter appear to match the lime-green painted walls of the steel plant's basements.
- Unclear how many troops holding out: The Azovstal plant is a sprawling industrial complex in the southeastern corner of Mariupol. The compound spans an area of more than 4 square miles and used to employ more than 10,000 people. It is unclear how many Ukrainian troops are still holding out there.
- Evacuations blocked, Zelensky says: The Ukrainian president claimed in a video address on Tuesday that Russian forces are blocking corridors and evacuations from Mariupol. Zelensky added he had signed a decree to honor Ukrainian armed forces defending Mariupol.
- Shipyard damaged: Part of Mariupol's Azov shipyard has been heavily damaged by fighting in the city, according to a new video released by the Mariupol City Council. In the footage, the shipyard's entrance sign and gate can be seen. Debris is scattered outside the gate, where a car and a forklift appear to have been strategically placed to block access. CNN has geolocated the video and verified its authenticity.
- Mariupol is a 'critical logistics hub' for Ukrainian forces: Retired Lt. General and CNN military analyst Mark Hertling said Mariupol is a critical logistics hub. Its strategic position on the coast of the Sea of Azov makes it a key target. Taking it would allow Russia to create a continuous land bridge from Donbas to Crimea, the peninsula it illegally annexed in 2014. "It not only has roads, but it also has railroads and it has ports," Hertling said.