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Dozens of civilians including the elderly and children were last night feared trapped in rubble following more intense bombing in the besieged city of Mariupol.

Images of the stricken steelworks that has held out against the Russian advance emerged as Ukraine was pummelled on the 61st day of war.

Moscow claimed it had struck 90 military targets across the country yesterday, killing at least 500 soldiers.

Attacks were also reported in Zaporizhzhia, a south-eastern city to which Mariupol residents had been told to flee, as well as in the eastern region of Donetsk. 

Smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works. Dozens of civilians including the elderly and children were last night feared trapped in rubble following more intense bombing in the besieged city of Mariupol

Smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works. Dozens of civilians including the elderly and children were last night feared trapped in rubble following more intense bombing in the besieged city of Mariupol

Smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works. Dozens of civilians including the elderly and children were last night feared trapped in rubble following more intense bombing in the besieged city of Mariupol

Civilians gather on Orthodox Easter Sunday at the Azovstal steel plant where Ukrainian soldiers are holding out and civilians sheltering

Civilians gather on Orthodox Easter Sunday at the Azovstal steel plant where Ukrainian soldiers are holding out and civilians sheltering

Civilians gather on Orthodox Easter Sunday at the Azovstal steel plant where Ukrainian soldiers are holding out and civilians sheltering

An elderly woman trembling with fear is crudely bandaged as she is tended to by soldiers in the sorawling Azovstal steel works

An elderly woman trembling with fear is crudely bandaged as she is tended to by soldiers in the sorawling Azovstal steel works

An elderly woman trembling with fear is crudely bandaged as she is tended to by soldiers in the sorawling Azovstal steel works

Last week, Vladimir Putin declared victory over Mariupol and appeared to call off the assault of the steelworks, all but condemning resistance fighters to starvation by instructing troops to block the site so ‘even a fly cannot get through’

Last week, Vladimir Putin declared victory over Mariupol and appeared to call off the assault of the steelworks, all but condemning resistance fighters to starvation by instructing troops to block the site so ‘even a fly cannot get through’

Last week, Vladimir Putin declared victory over Mariupol and appeared to call off the assault of the steelworks, all but condemning resistance fighters to starvation by instructing troops to block the site so ‘even a fly cannot get through’

At least three cities were also targeted in the Luhansk area.

Plumes of black smoke filled the air in Mariupol after 35 airstrikes in just 24 hours. 

Many are now feared trapped in the labyrinthine underground tunnels which have acted as makeshift bunkers.

Distressing footage released yesterday by the Azov Battalion, an elite unit which has vowed to fight ‘until the last bullet’, showed a crudely bandaged elderly woman trembling with fear as she was tended to by soldiers.

In a statement released online, the soldiers said: ‘The Azovstal plant, which houses the defenders of Mariupol, continues to be struck by enemy fire. 

‘In the past 24 hours, 35 airstrikes were carried out, during which one of the stores caught fire. 

‘Most importantly, they affected civilians who are now trapped. Soldiers of the Azov Battalion make every effort to free civilians from the rubble.’

Last week, Vladimir Putin declared victory over Mariupol and appeared to call off the assault of the steelworks, all but condemning resistance fighters to starvation by instructing troops to block the site so ‘even a fly cannot get through’.

However Western observers believe he was solely attempting to present some sort of victory to the Russian people in a war where his troops have toiled and been pushed back. 

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky, yesterday disregarded Russia’s claims of victory, saying that the sprawling Azovstal site makes up one fifth of Mariupol, so the city cannot be said to have been seized without it. 

‘Fake country, fake victories,’ he added.

A view of the massive Azovstal Iron and Steel Works plant which purports to take up 20% of the space of Mariupol

A view of the massive Azovstal Iron and Steel Works plant which purports to take up 20% of the space of Mariupol

A view of the massive Azovstal Iron and Steel Works plant which purports to take up 20% of the space of Mariupol

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows damage at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol on Sunday, April 24, 2022. The stricken steelworks have held out against the Russian advance for 61 days

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows damage at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol on Sunday, April 24, 2022. The stricken steelworks have held out against the Russian advance for 61 days

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows damage at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol on Sunday, April 24, 2022. The stricken steelworks have held out against the Russian advance for 61 days

An aerial view showing damaged buildings, amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, in Mariupol. Last week, Vladimir Putin declared victory over Mariupol and appeared to call off the assault of the steelworks

An aerial view showing damaged buildings, amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, in Mariupol. Last week, Vladimir Putin declared victory over Mariupol and appeared to call off the assault of the steelworks

An aerial view showing damaged buildings, amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, in Mariupol. Last week, Vladimir Putin declared victory over Mariupol and appeared to call off the assault of the steelworks

A pillar of smoke rises from behind a residential building after Russian missile strikes on Zaporizhzhia, southeastern Ukraine

A pillar of smoke rises from behind a residential building after Russian missile strikes on Zaporizhzhia, southeastern Ukraine

A pillar of smoke rises from behind a residential building after Russian missile strikes on Zaporizhzhia, southeastern Ukraine

One person died after two missiles hit a factory in Zaporizhzhia, the first such attack in the area. 

In Luhansk, governor Serhiy Haidai said Russians had shelled civilians 17 times over the last 24 hours.

Fierce resistance in the Donbas region saw the Ukrainian army destroy four Russian tanks, 13 armoured vehicles and two tankers, authorities said.

In Kreminna, which the British MoD confirmed had fallen to the Russians yesterday, a number of Russians were reportedly killed in a ‘gas explosion’ at a council building. 

It is believed the blast was in fact the result of a resistance attack after occupying forces intended to announce the new regime in the city.

There were reports that two villages in Russia’s Belgorod region were attacked by Ukrainian troops, with two hurt, but this was not confirmed by Kyiv.

Source: Daily Mail

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