Russian Defence Ministry says forces attack firing positions of Ukrainian army at Azovstal

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Russian forces have been attacking the firing positions of the Ukrainian armed forces at the Azovstal steel plant in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, the Russian Defence Ministry has said.

The fighters of the Azov Battalion and Ukrainian troops took advantage of the ceasefire at the steel plant to move into their firing positions, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing Russian Defence Ministry Spokesman Vadim Astafyev on Tuesday.

Astafyev added that artillery and aircraft were being used to destroy the firing positions, Xinhua news agency reported.

Russian troops were trying to break into the Azovstal plant from several places, the Ukrinform news agency reported on Tuesday, citing Mariupol Patrol Police Chief Mykhailo Vershinin.

“There was artillery and aviation training for almost a day … now they stormed the plant in several places. We are defending. We are fighting back,” Vershinin was quoted as saying.

Both the Russian and Ukrainian militaries said on Monday that more than 100 people were evacuated from Mariupol, local media reported.

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