After the Kremlin confirmed that his country had no plans to storm it, the Russian military announced Wednesday evening that it would stop firing in the vicinity of the Azovstal steel plant in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol for a period of 3 days.
In a post onlinethe army confirmed it would open humanitarian corridors from the factory on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays to allow civilians to leave the complex.
He also added that the corridors will be open daily from 0800 to 1800 Moscow time.
He also made it clear that during this time Russian forces will stop any military activity and withdraw units at a safe distance.
Ukraine: we are communicating with the stranded
These developments came after the announcement, confirmed Wednesday by the head of the ruling party’s parliamentary committee in Ukraine, David Arachamia, that Russian forces had entered the territory of the Azovstal factory in the city of Mariupol.
Arachamia confirmed that Russian intrusion attempts still continue for the second day, noting that Russian forces are already present in the Azovstal lands, in an interview quoted by the radio station “Free Europe”.
He also added that the contacts are still in course between the Ukrainian authorities and the fighters in the factory, noting that they did not stop until Wednesday evening.
These statements came as thearea of the factory has witnessed violent fighting, as heavy artillery, tanks and aviation are participating in the operation, according to the Ukrainian version.
The Kremlin denies: we do not want to storm
However, on Wednesday the Kremlin debunked the Ukrainian narrative, denying that Russian forces had launched an attack on the Mariupol industrial complex and stressing that they did not intend to storm it.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow had publicly given the order on April 21, issued by the supreme leader, President Vladimir Putin, to cancel any raids.
He stressed that Russian forces are besieging the site, but are intervening only to prevent any sudden firing from the Ukrainian fighters present.
Interestingly, the huge Azovstal factory was transformed into the last of the city’s “resistance” fortresses, where thousands of fighters and civilians were barricaded, Ukrainian authorities announced.
However, in recent days, after having imposed the siege on the famous factory, the Russians have announced a ceasefire, with the aim of leaving civilians and fighters indifferent, on condition that they surrender.
Then the two sides exchanged accusations of violating the armistice and not allowing the evacuation of civilians, before the efforts of the United Nations and the Red Cross produced a new batch a few days ago.
Since the launch of the Russian military operation on the lands of its western neighbor on February 24, Mariupol, overlooking the Sea of Azov, has been a strategic target for Moscow, as its control will open a land corridor for the movement of Russian forces between Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, which Moscow annexed to its territory in 2014.
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