Russian soldiers entered the industrial grounds of Mariupol’s Azovstal Steelworks on Sunday (May 22), as part of an operation to clear mines and debris from the area.
Soldiers walked through the compound and swung mine detectors over roads littered with debris, while some checked under objects for the explosive devices. Sunday’s operation saw mines detonated in controlled explosions and debris cleared from the steelworks’ roads using military bulldozers.
One Russian serviceman, with the nom-de-guerre ‘Babai’, said the landmines were planted by both Ukrainian and Russian forces, with over one-hundred mines being cleared by the operation in the last two days. Drone footage also captured the extensive damage to the steelworks’ buildings, where a weeks-long siege trapping Ukrainian fighters inside the compound ended in surrender on Friday (May 20).
Many of the industrial buildings were left charred and partially collapsed following Russia’s intense campaign in Mariupol, which began following the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The last Ukrainian forces holed up in the steelworks surrendered on Friday, according to the Russian defence ministry. Ukraine has not confirmed that development, but a commander of one of the units in the factory said in a video that the troops had been ordered to stand down.
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