DESPERATE LAST STAND: Mariupol Steel Plant Engulfed In Fire And Smoke

A desperate last defence of the besieged steel plant in Mariupol has seen Ukrainian defenders engulfed in flames and smoke.

Grim footage shows huge columns of smoke rising into the air as Russian bombs rain down on the Azovstal plant, where Ukrainian defenders are holed up.

Russian troops stormed the site on 19th April and destroyed large areas. However, pockets of organised resistance fighters remain at the plant, refusing to surrender.

Azovstal under heavy fire by the Russian Aircrafts Artillery and Infantry in May 2022. (@Polk_Azov/Newsflash)

The Azov Regiment, a unit of the National Guard of Ukraine based in Mariupol, said on 5th May: “The assault on Azovstal continues! Fighters defend the plant under heavy fire. The enemy uses aircraft, artillery and infantry.”

In the video, large columns of smoke are seen filling the sky as bombs explode on different parts of the battered plant.

Russia invaded Ukraine on 24th February in what the Kremlin is calling a “special military operation”. Today marks the 72nd day of the campaign.

Azovstal under heavy fire by the Russian Aircrafts Artillery and Infantry in May 2022. (@Polk_Azov/Newsflash)

From 24th February to 5th May, the total combat losses of Russian troops stand at around 24,700 personnel, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian military also claims that Russia has lost 1,092 tanks, 2,651 armoured fighting vehicles, 499 artillery systems, 169 multiple launch rocket systems, 83 anti-aircraft warfare systems, 196 aircraft, 155 helicopters, 1,907 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, 10 boats/cutters, 312 unmanned aerial vehicles, 38 units of special units and 89 cruise missiles.

Meanwhile, a host of international organisations have banned Russia, already hit by economic sanctions, from taking part in sporting and cultural events, such as this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, in response to the country’s invasion.

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