After the Kremlin confirmed that his country had no intention of storming it, the Russian army announced on Wednesday evening that it would stop firing in the vicinity of the Azovstal steel plant in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol for a period of 3 days.
In an online post, the army confirmed that it would open humanitarian corridors from the factory on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, to allow civilians to leave the compound.
He also added that the corridors will be open from 0800 to 1800 Moscow time daily.
He also clarified that during this period, the Russian forces will stop any military activities and withdraw units to a safe distance.
Ukraine: We are communicating with the stranded
These developments came after an announcement, confirmed by the head of the Parliamentary Committee of the ruling party in Ukraine, David Arachamia, on Wednesday, that Russian forces had entered the territory of the Azovstal factory in the city of Mariupol.
Arachamia confirmed that the Russian intrusion attempts are still continuing for the second day, stressing that the Russian forces are already present in Azovstal lands, in an interview quoted by the “Free Europe” radio station.
He also added that contact is still going on between the Ukrainian authorities and the fighters in the factory, noting that it did not stop until Wednesday evening.
These statements came while the factory area is witnessing violent battles, as heavy artillery, tanks and aviation are participating in the operation, according to the Ukrainian version.
The Kremlin denies: We do not want to storm
However, the Kremlin on Wednesday denied the Ukrainian narrative, denying that Russian forces had launched an attack on the industrial complex in Mariupol, and stressing that they did not intend to storm it.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow had publicly given the order on April 21, issued by the Supreme Leader, President Vladimir Putin, to cancel any incursion.
He stressed that the Russian forces are besieging the site, but they only intervene to prevent any sudden shooting from the Ukrainian fighters there.
It is noteworthy that the huge Azovstal factory was transformed into the last of the “resistance” fortresses in the city, where thousands of fighters and civilians alike were barricaded, according to what the Ukrainian authorities announced.
However, in the past few days, after imposing their siege on the famous factory, the Russians announced a ceasefire, with the aim of leaving civilians and fighters alike, on the condition that they surrender.
Then the two sides exchanged accusations of violating the armistice, and not allowing the evacuation of civilians, before the efforts of the United Nations and the Red Cross produced a new batch a few days ago.
Since the launch of the Russian military operation on the lands of its western neighbor, on February 24, Mariupol, overlooking the Sea of Azov, has been a strategic goal for Moscow, since controlling it will open a land corridor for the movement of Russian forces between eastern Ukraine and Crimea, which Moscow annexed to its territory in 2014.