A newly released video appears to show Ukrainian children among those seeking shelter from Russian shelling in an underground bunker in the besieged city of Mariupol, with one toddler wearing homemade nappies made of plastic bags as supplies run out.
The video, released by Azov Battalion, which is among Ukrainian forces at the Azovstal steelworks where soldiers and civilians have been holed up under a Russian attack, shows children receiving Easter presents during the Orthodox weekend.
The video, released by the Azov Battalion, appears to show civilians living in mouldy, damp, dark conditions and babies forced to wear homemade nappies as supplies run out
The port city has largely been reduced to rubble after two months of bombardment from Russian forces. The mammoth steel plant, which has a sprawling maze of underground channels, has remained the last bulwark of Ukrainian resistance.
Speaking to the camera, one of the women said there are 600 civilians sheltering under the plant, without food and water, although other estimates have put the figure at 1,000 civilians along with about 2,000 Ukrainian fighters.
In the footage, which the group’s deputy commander, Sviatoslav Palamar says was filmed on Sunday at the plant, laundry is seen hanging on makeshift hangers.
One of the women in the video begs for help from world leaders and says she and others stuck under the plant are tired of the bombing and are desperate for their freedom.
“The children are constantly crying here — they want to play and live,” she adds. “Stop this aggression. I ask everyone, help please, free us!”
The mammoth steel plant, which has a sprawling maze of underground channels. has remained the last bulwark of Ukrainian resistance in the strategic Sea of Azov port city.
The Russian military said it would open a humanitarian corridor for civilians to evacuate from the besieged steel plant in Mariupol on Monday at 2pm.
The Russian Defence Ministry said Russian troops will cease fire to allow civilians to safely exit the plant.
"On behalf of all Mariupol citizens, I call on the entire world to help us please. We want to live in our own city, in our country. We want to live normally and calmly. We are tired of these bombings, these constant air raids on our land.
"How long will this continue? Who are they saving us from here? I do not understand. Help us! Stop the Russian Federation's military aggression against my country," she said.
"My country is dying, my city is completely destroyed, there isn't one living place left. They bombed everything completely.
"The children here are always crying, they want to play, they want to live. Do you know what kind of games these children are playing? They are all asking for help. Stop this aggression, stop it, I'm asking you."
Satellite photos analysed by the AP press agency show vast the devastation at the steelworks.The steelworks are a massive Soviet-era complex with a warren of underground facilities built to withstand airstrikes.
The Ukrainians have rejected several ultimatums from the Russians to surrender the city.
The continued defiance of Ukraine soldiers means Russian troops can not be deployed in elsewhere in Ukraine’s industrial east where Moscow is seeking to gain full control.
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