Excerpts from videos released by the Azov Battalion between April 18 -- 25, 2022. The videos show civilians sheltering in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.
In the absence of independent media to chronicle their plight, fighters inside the factory are publishing videos to show the world their hardship.
The footage shows a child wearing a makeshift diaper crafted from tape and plastic bags, sleeping in a dreary and moldy room. An elderly woman with a bandaged head is seen in a uniform jacket worn by steel plant workers as she shakes uncontrollably. Klein children make plaintive requests. A girl says we want to go home. These scenes are from videos shared online in recent days by the Azov regiment, a unit in Ukrainian military, which said they were taken in the mazelike bunkers beneath the sprawling Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine. Russian soldiers control the rest of the city and fighting continues around the plant. The plant has become the last refuge for thousands of trapped Ukrainian fighters and civilians. There is no escape and little chance of a rescue. Early Thursday, Azov fighters said Russian forces had attacked a field hospital within the plant, killing soldiers and burying people in the rubble. Reports of the attack resulted in renewed calls from Ukrainian officials and UN Secretary General Ant nio Guterres for a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians. Supplies within the plant are said to be extremely low. It is not a matter of days, it is a matter of hours, said Vadym Boychenko, Mariupol's mayor.
Russia views capturing the port city as a crucial part of its goal of securing a land bridge along Ukraine s south that connects to Crimea, and its forces have been shelling the plant relentlessly. One of the largest humanitarian crises of the war has been the devastation there - city officials have said tens of thousands of residents have been killed. Independent journalists who chronicled the siege of Mariupol for western media left a month and a half ago because the security risks were too great. In order to fill the vacuum of firsthand coverage, the warring parties have stepped in, sharing content from the ground and, in Azov's case, pleading for help to their hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. Azov's videos provide the only glimpse into life at the steel plant, with almost no cell service, electricity or access to the internet. We are filming these videos to draw attention to the fact that they are at the plant, so the enemy does not say there are no civilians here, Capt. Svyatoslav Palamar, the deputy commander of the Azov regiment based at the factory, told The New York Times in a text message. They are evacuated so that they can be evacuated. The Times could not independently verify the exact location of the videos, but the interiors appear to be consistent with the design of the plant, and a former employee who was familiar with the premises confirmed that the images appeared to have been created there.