Britain says Russia blockaded Azovstal plant to contain Ukraine resistance

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Smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works company in Mariupol

(Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to blockade the Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine likely indicates a desire to contain resistance in Mariupol, a British military update said on Friday.

"A full ground assault by Russia on the plant would likely incur significant Russian casualties, further decreasing their overall combat effectiveness," the update added.

Heavy shelling continued in the eastern Donbas as Russia seeks to advance further towards settlements, including Krasnyy Lyman, Buhayikva, Barvinkove, Lyman and Popasna, the UK Ministry of Defence tweeted in a regular bulletin.

Reuters could not immediately verify the report.

(Reporting by Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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