The Mirror received a horrifying account from a Ukrainian army chief who was hiding in the Mariupol steel plant.
Ilya Samoilenko describes how terrifying it was to be bombed by the Russians for 73 days while trying desperately to hold on the Azovstal plant.
Samoilenko, 36 years old, is responsible for intelligence and reconnaissance within the Ukraine Army Factory.
The brave officer was already blinded and had to be amputated after he tried to fight against Russian mines during the war.
He speaks about the heroism and bravery of soldiers.
Three of his colleagues were killed and six others were wounded 24 hours prior to his call to Mirror.
He stated that: “We’ve been in a locked-down place for 73 days now – without replenishing our supplies.
“You go brush your teeth in the morning and you know you might get killed doing that.
“It’s like an extreme sport or some twisted game where you play the role of the target.
“One of our soldiers was killed – his mother received messages from his phone with photos of her son, executed by the Russian military – strangled with a bag on his head.
“The Russians are not interested in witnesses surviving at all. The Azovstal factory area is completely bombed out.
“There are huge bomb craters, some of them up to 20 metres in diameter. It resembles the surface of the moon.”
We asked him about a typical day in Azovstal.
He said: “Each day bombs are dropped, shots are fired at us. Conditions are very far from ideal.
“We are not just living here in a blockaded area, we are fighting here.
“An ordinary day depends on what a soldier or an officer does, there are different duties.
“But directly each of us, apart from providing for our daily life, is fighting.
“The supply of medicines is limited, as is the supply of provisions.
“Many critical medications are no longer available.
“Wounded people who need specific care cannot get medical supplies.
“It is a problem we cannot solve on our own. There are many different types of wounds.
“These are bullet wounds, shrapnel wounds, mine blast injuries, fall injuries, compression injuries.
“These are people who have been rescued from the rubble.
“Amputated limbs, arms, legs – not problems that can be easily solved in conditions of an improvised field hospital.
“Most of the amputations that fighters have received are when a limb has been damaged or torn off already by an explosion, or by a shrapnel or a bullet.
“Here in Azovstal the doctors were doing the most unbelievable things, heroic deeds. The medics are real heroes.
“People are asking us how much food and water we have left. I can’t believe my ears when I hear that.
“Would I say that if I knew the exact number? What is that, people are setting a counter until we die?
“At the moment we have managed to find all the civilians, they have been evacuated.
“But there is still a possibility that some could be under the rubble. But 99% of the people we found have left.”
He said: “The problem is that the Russian side, contrary to UN agreements, continued shelling while evacuating people.
“The Russian army can be expected to do anything.
“Because by their actions they have already shown that their military is capable of any action beyond human understanding.
“This is a terrorist tactic, a scorched earth tactic.
He gave more details of Russian atrocities.
“We had an incident recently – one of our fighters “Dan”He was captured in the city. He was captured.
“The enemy published the video, where you could see this soldier with his name tag, his surname, his unit.
“After about four days his mother received messages from his phone with photos of her son, executed by the Russian military, strangled, with a bag on his head.”
He promised that they would never give up.
“Prisoners of war who surrender in large numbers are a huge gift to the enemy.
“A gift that is both ideological and psychological,.. We can not give such a gift to the enemy.”
Mariupol’s steelworks were a pivotal battleground during the war. Crack Ukrainian troops fought to save the city from Russian control.
It was a highly controversial point that Vladimir Putin became furious at the inability of his army to take it.
Last month, he spoke out about a plan for the Azovstal Steelworks to be overthrown. “impractical”.
He ordered Russian troops then to blockade this area “so that a fly can’t get through”It is possible to starve the Ukrainians.
After several weeks, he seemed to have changed his mind and the heavy bombing increased again.
The Azov regiment, which is still holding out in Azovstal said that over the past 24 hours, 34 Russian planes had flown above the plant, including eight sorties of strategic bombers.
It stated that the plant was under attack from the Russian navy as well as tanks, artillery firing and rockets.
Many civilians sought refuge in the plant, which boasts a large number of underground tunnels.
Most of them were evacuated within the last seven days.
The huge plant is still home to around 2,000 soldiers from Ukraine.
Russia has taken Mariupol’s entire city, with the exception of the steelworks.