More than a thousand Ukrainian soldiers will be left in the Azovstal steelworks in the war-torn city of Mariupol. The industrial area is now the only one Ukraine holds in the main strategic city, which connects Russian-occupied Crimea and the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.
From the very first day of the invasion, Mariupol has been heavily bombarded, besieged and subjected to brutal fighting.
The civilian population has been gradually evacuated from the city. Livelihoods such as food, electricity and water have not been found in the city.
Nevertheless, the soldiers in Azovstal have persevered, surrounded by the Russians on all sides. The operation to get the remaining Ukrainian soldiers to surrender has been massive.
– Impossible to stop
New video images published by Ukrainian authorities on Sunday show a massive bombardment of the steelworks.
– They have a temperature of between 2000 and 2500 degrees Celsius. The flames are almost impossible to stop, he writes Telegram.
He further says that experts will now assess what kind of bombs have been used, but the Russians themselves have claimed that there are firebombs used in Mariupol, according to the adviser.
Ukraine has earlier in the war claimed that Russia uses phosphorus bombs. International law prohibits the use of phosphorus bombs in populated areas, but it is permitted to use in conflict in areas where there is no danger of them hitting civilians. White phosphorus burns when it comes in contact with oxygen.
Phosphorus bombs are primarily used by the military to hide traces during ground operations, as the bombs immediately create thick, white smoke. The bombs can also be used to start fires.
They cause extreme burns and charring if they hit people.
– Pure firebombs
War captain and head teacher at the Staff School in the Norwegian Armed Forces, Thomas Slensvik, told Dagbladet in March that the grenades are blasted at a certain height above the target, so that phosphorus is spread outwards and “rains” down on the target area.
– Phosphorus grenades have been used in several wars, evidently including in the civil war in Syria. One of the challenges with weapons that use phosphorus is that some are pure “firebombs”. Some grenades use phosphorus to take advantage of the burning effect, while other weapons can use phosphorus to create clouds of smoke that they can cover behind.
Slensvik then explained that the rules regarding the use of phosphorus have been discussed, but that most people will recognize this type of artillery grenade that appears to have been used, as a firearm, regulated by protocol 3 in the UN weapons convention, a protocol that the Russians have also signed .
– Then it is forbidden to use such weapons in areas where there may be civilians.
Russia denied in March that it had used phosphorus in civilian areas.
Civilians seek refuge
For more than two months, Ukraine has been trying to get civilians out of Mariupol, mostly in stages.
There will be around a thousand soldiers left in the steelworks, and hundreds of them will be injured. Many civilians will also seek refuge in the steelworks. It is otherwise not known how many civilians are left in war-torn Mariupol.