As Russian troops continue their pounding of the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol, a photographer has captured the grim extent of the suffering there in a series of stark photos.
The steel works has become a symbol of Ukraine’s resistance in the conflict. The photos inside show soldiers’ stoicism and grit.
The images were taken by a photographer with the press office of the Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard and expose the horror of the dimly-lit, makeshift hospitals inside the plant.
In early May, civilians were evacuated from the area, and on May 8, fighters of the Azov regiment who were defending the plant said they had exhausted „all resources for effective defense,” Meduza reported.
Two days later, the battalion’s Telegram channel published photos of wounded soldiers and called on „the entire civilized world” to help evacuate them: „The world must see the conditions in which the wounded, mutilated defenders of Mariupol are located and act.”
Heavily bearded grime-smeared men are seen with missing limbs bandaged with makeshift cloth and bloodied clothes.
There are reports that the sprawling complex has been shelled dozens of times in the past 24 hours as Russian troops attempt to storm the plant. Some estimates say there may be up to 100 civilians still there.
As the photos emerged, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly appealed for arms, saying Ukraine has not received the amount of weapons it would need to unblock the siege of Mariupol and free the city.
Mr Zelensky said defenders „still continue their resistance in the plant of Azovstal,” adding: „We are using all possible diplomatic instruments to rescue them, but Russia doesn’t allow for any of the proposed options.”