A Ukrainian presidential adviser said on Tuesday that Russia had begun hitting Azovstal steelworks – the main remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the devastated port city of Mariupol – with bunker-buster bombs hours after an ultimatum by Russia to Ukrainian passed.
No Ukrainian fighters had accepted the ultimatum to lay down their arms and leave the facility on Tuesday afternoon in return for a promise to spare their lives, Russia’s Interfax news agency said a TV correspondent quoting the Russian-backed separatist administration in Donetsk had said.
About 120 civilians living next to the vast steelworks left via humanitarian corridors, Interfax reported on Tuesday, quoting Russian state TV.
Mariupol’s city council said on Monday that over 1,000 civilians were sheltering in basement premises underneath the Azovstal plant.
Ukrainian fighters have been mounting a last stand in the ruins of Mariupol, which Russian forces have been attacking almost since the start of what Moscow calls its special military operation in Ukraine.