Day 81 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Hell at Azovstal, Russia Drops Phosphorus Bombs, Rocket Fire near Ukraine’s Border with Poland
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
Russia uses phosphorus bombs on Azovstal
For the first time, Russian invaders dropped phosphorous or incendiary bombs on Azovstal in Mariupol. This was announced by the adviser to the mayor of the city Petro Andryushchenko, quoted by UNIAN
"Mariupol. Azovstal. Again - from the sky, from the sea, from the earth. Yesterday, the occupiers used incendiary or phosphorus bombs for the first time against the defenders of Mariupol (we will leave the conclusion to the specialists)," Andryushchenko said.
According to him, the occupiers themselves claim to have used 9M22C incendiary shells with thermite layers. The combustion temperature is about 2-2,500 degrees Celsius. Burning is almost impossible to stop.
"Hell has risen to the ground. For Azovstal. It's amazing how our defenders are behaving," he added, posting a video from Azovstal.
Phosphorus bombs are munitions that are banned by international treaties. Exploded at the right height, the bomb hit an area of 100-200 square meters, covering everything around with fire. Once on the human body, burning slag and phosphorus particles stick together and carbonize organic tissues.
According to an UNIAN correspondent, after the evacuation of civilians from the catacombs of Azovstal in Mariupol, Russian troops have not stopped their attempts to take over the plant, which is defended by Ukrainian soldiers. The occupiers fired missiles and bombs at the plant and used artillery and tanks.
According to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, influential mediators and states have been involved to save the Ukrainian servicemen stationed in Azovstal. The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces says the operation to unblock the plant will require significant efforts and a large number of troops.
On May 11, Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk said Azovstal may have about 1,000 more fighters, half of whom were seriously injured.
On May 12, she said talks were under way to release only 38 severely wounded fighters.
On May 13, Zelensky said Ukraine was offering Russia various mechanisms to remove Ukrainian fighters from the Azovstal plant to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is about saving the living and taking out the bodies of the dead
Russia has launched missile strikes on targets in Ukraine near the border with Poland
Russia has launched missile strikes from the Black Sea against Ukrainian military targets near the Polish border.
During the night, military sites were attacked in the area of Yavorov, Lviv region. No casualties were reported.
The Russian side reported that six command posts of the Ukrainian armed forces, 13 artillery units and two S-300 missile systems were destroyed in the last 24 hours.
The fighting in Donbas continues, with Russian troops pushed out of Kharkiv and a counter-offensive under Izyum. In other areas, however, Russian forces have made progress, the Ukrainian military said.
Zelensky: Step by step we are forcing the occupiers to leave Ukraine
The situation in Donbas remains very difficult, warned the Ukrainian president, who was speaking in Kyiv with a delegation from the US Senate.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said the country was "entering a long-term phase of the war".
According to President Volodymyr Zelensky:
"The Russian military is still trying to show at least some victory. On the 80th day of the invasion, this seems particularly insane, but they do not stop with these efforts. I am grateful to everyone who supports the defense and approaches of Donbas, Azov and Kherson and what is happening now in the Kharkiv region. Step by step we are forcing the occupiers to leave the Ukrainian land, we will make them leave our sea as well."
Turkey has expressed readiness to send a ship to evacuate other Ukrainian fighters and civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. According to Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, the people could be taken to Berdyansk, from where they could board a Turkish ship to Istanbul.
Moscow has denied allegations by the Ukrainian military of damage to the Russian logistics ship Vsevolod Bobrov.
A Republican delegation to the Senate visited Kyiv and met with President Zelensky as a nearly $40 billion aid package for Ukraine was discussed in the upper house of the US Congress.
Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said Russian diplomats in Washington were receiving threats, including physical violence. According to Antonov, the embassy of the Russian Federation looks like a besieged fortress and works in a hostile environment.
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