Ukraine military films Azovstal plea for help

STORY: "Please help us! We want to live!" she says to the camera in a video purporting to show women and children sheltering in a bunker at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.

“We don't even have any way out of here. We do not even go outside, our children have not seen sunlight for 1.5 months," said another unidentified woman.

The Azov Battalion was set up in 2014 as a group comprising pro-Ukrainian nationalist volunteers who fought against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Kyiv later incorporated the Azov fighters as a regiment in its National Guard. Russia accuses the group of being a neo-Nazi organization, an allegation Ukraine rejects.

According to the women in the video, neither adults nor children have been above ground for weeks and their supplies of food and water may last no longer than one more week.

Soldiers are seen handing over items to the civilians in the bunker and the video shows people wearing Azovstal coats, which matches file images from the company.

Russian forces launched missile and bomb strikes on Ukrainian positions in the steel plant, the main remaining Ukrainian stronghold in Mariupol where more than 1,000 civilians are also sheltering, Ukrainian officials said.

Moscow, which describes its actions in Ukraine as a "special military operation", denies targeting civilians.

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