April 25, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Maureen Chowdhury, Rhea Mogul, Andrew Raine, Jack Guy, Ben Morse and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Updated 12:11 a.m. ET, April 26, 2022
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11:23 p.m. ET, April 24, 2022

Russian forces continuing attack on Mariupol, Ukrainian commander says in Easter message

From CNN's Nathan Hodge and Olga Voitovych

In an Easter message Captain Svyatoslav Palamar, the deputy commander of Ukraine's Azov Regiment, said Sunday that Russian forces were continuing to bombard the city of Mariupol, underscoring the need for evacuation of civilians and encircled Ukrainian forces.  

Christ is Risen, dear Ukraine," he said. "Today is a big day but even so, the enemy continues to drop aerial bombs, ships fire artillery, cannons fire, enemy tanks continue to hit, infantry tries to assault."

Palamar added: "We would like to thank those who are trying to help the civilians of Mariupol to evacuate from this dangerous area, with actions, not just words. I thank those who are making every effort to withdraw our military from the encirclement, who were left alone with the overwhelming forces of the enemy."

The Azov Regiment, sometimes referred to as the Azov Battalion, is a unit that began as an ultra-nationalist volunteer battalion but has since integrated into the Ukrainian armed forces.

Azov troops have been holding out in Mariupol's besieged Azovstal plant, along with other Ukrainian forces.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said earlier that Russian forces were "continuously attacking" the encircled Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol on Easter Sunday.

Ukrainian officials have said around 100,000 civilians require evacuation from the city, which has been ruined by weeks of Russian bombardment.