A Ukrainian commander at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol said there are “bloody battles” unfolding with Russian forces inside the complex after they breached the perimeter, even as Russia said it would open evacuation corridors from the plant on Thursday.
Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:
Mariupol evacuations: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that 344 people were evacuated from Mariupol and surrounding areas to Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday. He also called for a ceasefire to evacuate those who remain in Mariupol, especially women and children who remain trapped in the Azovstal steel plant.
“Bloody battles” at Azovstal: The commander of the Azov Regiment inside the Azovstal plant, Lt. Col. Denys Prokopenko, said there are “heavy, bloody battles” unfolding inside the complex after Russian forces broke in. Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said Wednesday that new battles have broken out at the plant, where hundreds of civilians — including 30 children — are still trapped inside along with the last Ukrainian defenders in the city.
Russia says it will open evacuation corridors: The Russian Ministry of Defense said it expects to open evacuation corridors for civilians out of the Azovstal steel plant near Mariupol starting on Thursday. The evacuations are set to take place from May 5 to May 7 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Moscow time, the ministry said.
Russia targeting foreign arms: Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that during the most recent round of airstrikes on Ukraine, Russian forces were “attempting to hit what we assess to be critical infrastructure targets out towards the West” in Ukraine including “electrical power, transportation hubs.” Despite those strikes, the US is still able to “flow” military assistance into the region, including “weapons systems” and other materials, Kirby said.
Attacks on supply lines: Russian attacks on Ukraine’s supply lines are intensifying and investigators are collecting evidence of Russia’s attempts to systematically destroy key infrastructure. The Lviv power station was among six railway facilities in central and western Ukraine targeted by Russian forces on Tuesday — the railway network now one of Russia’s key targets.