MOSCOW, April 19. /TASS/. Militia units from the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have partially launched an operation to storm the Azovstal steel plant in the city of Mariupol, DPR Militia Spokesman Eduard Basurin said on Tuesday.
"Attack groups formed for storming the facility have started their work. We are receiving assistance from Russia, it’s about aircraft and artillery. The so-called defenders of the Ukrainian people will finally surrender soon and people [in Mariupol] will breathe a sigh of relief," he pointed out.
Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said earlier that the remaining Ukrainian forces in Mariupol had been blocked at the Azovstal plant, while the rest of the city had been cleared of them. According to Konashenkov, up to 2,500 Ukrainian troops, members of the Azov nationalist battalion and foreign mercenaries remain at the plant. The Russian military offered them to lay down their weapons and surrender between 6:00 am and 1:00 pm on Sunday in exchange for their lives.