MOSCOW, May 5. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not given any new orders on the Azovstal steel complex in the city of Mariupol so the previous decision to call off an operation to storm the facility but block it off instead remains in effect, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday, when asked to comment on Ukraine’s allegations that Russian troops had broken into the premises of the plant and engaged in heavy fighting the previous night.
"You have seen the president, the commander-in-chief, give an order to call the operation off. The commander-in-chief has not issued any other orders," Peskov said in response to a question on whether Putin’s previous order had been canceled. The Kremlin spokesman also confirmed that the plant was being blocked off but humanitarian corridors were operating in the area.
When commenting on reports of fighting in the industrial zone, the Russian presidential spokesman pointed out that "Ukraine, particularly those ensconced in the [Azovstal] plant, are well-known for producing a great number of lies and fake news on a regular basis." "This is why the information that comes to them needs to be carefully filtered out," he emphasized.
On April 21, Putin stated at a meeting with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu that it would be unreasonable to storm Azovstal and called the operation off, giving an order to the military to block off the industrial zone so that "even a fly can’t get in or out." On May 4, Shoigu announced that the remaining Ukrainian military units had been securely blocked at the Azovstal plant and the Russian Armed Forces were continuing efforts to persuade them to lay down their arms and let civilians go. Peskov said on Wednesday that Russian troops weren’t trying to storm the plant but were preventing militants holed up there from reaching firing positions.