Ukrainian officials said Tuesday that Russian forces had begun bombing and shelling the Azovstal factory in the besieged city of Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces and civilians remain encircled.
Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, said in a statement that Russian forces "are not only striking Azovstal with bombs but also with artillery and tanks, continuing their chaotic attacks on the residential area of the Left Bank (Livoberezhnyi) district along the line from the Meotidy Boulevard."
Andriushchenko is not in Mariupol but maintains a network of contacts in the city. CNN cannot independently confirm the location of Russian strikes, but pro-Kremlin media embedded with separatists and Russian forces have released footage of the shelling of Azovstal.
The Russian military gave Ukrainians defending Azovstal until 12 p.m. Moscow time Tuesday (5 a.m. ET) to surrender — a deadline that has now passed.
Liudmyla Denisova, the Ukrainian parliament's human-rights ombudsman, said that about 1,000 civilians, including children, remain in the basement of the plant, a figure consistent with estimates provided by Ukrainian units defending the plant.
Denisova claimed that Russian forces had ordered residents to wear white armbands — similar to those worn as friend-or-foe identifiers by Russian and separatist forces — when moving around Mariupol, making them harder to distinguish from combatants.
CNN could not verify that claim.
Mariupol has been under relentless bombardment for weeks, with more than 90% of the city's infrastructure damaged or destroyed, according to Ukrainian estimates.