Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Calls For 'Urgent' Evacuation Of Civilians Trapped At Mariupol Steel Complex

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has called for the urgent evacuation of hundreds of civilians trapped at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol by Russian forces.

"The situation on Azovstal is desperate. Hundreds of civilians, children, injured Ukrainian defenders are trapped in plantʼs shelters. They have almost no food, water, essential medicine," the ministry said in a tweet on April 21.

"Azovstal is being constantly bombarded by Russia, despite large number of civilians sheltering there. Ukrainians don't trust Russian troops, are afraid of being deported, killed. An urgent humanitarian corridor is needed from the Azovstal plant with guarantees people will be safe," it added.

The plea for the safe passage of civilians and wounded came after Moscow claimed it had full control of the port city, except at the sprawling iron and steel plant.

Russian troops were planning on storming the facility, but President Vladimir Putin called the operation off on April 21, saying it would cause too many Russian casualties and that instead, forces should seal off Azovstal so tightly that "even a fly can't get out."