A massive explosion was seen at the Azovstal steelworks in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on Wednesday as black smoke was rising above the visibly destroyed plant.
Ukrainian officials said Russia was pressing on with its assault on the Azovstal plant after capturing the rest of the city.
The leader of Ukraine's Russian-backed breakaway Donetsk People's Republic claimed on Wednesday there were 'no civilians left at the Azovstal steel plant in the occupied Ukrainian port city of Mariupol', TASS news agency reported.
"According to our information, there are no civilians left there. Consequently, our units' hands are no longer tied," TASS quoted Denis Pushilin, whose separatist forces have taken part in the assault on Mariupol, as saying.
Ukraine said on Tuesday that Russian forces were bombarding the steel works, where a local official said at least 100 civilians were still holed up. Scores of wounded fighters are also believed to be in the bombed-out plant.
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