- Many women and children are sheltering in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant amid Russian attacks.
- Children are losing teeth and hair from the stress of their situation, The Times of London said.
- Russian forces have been carrying out renewed airstrikes on the Azovstal plant this week.
Some children hiding in Mariupol’s steel plant are losing their hair and teeth from stress after watching their parents be killed, The Times of London reported Thursday.
Russia said last week that it had “liberated” the Ukrainian port city separately from the Azovstal steel plant, which is serving as a final holdout for thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.
Ukrainian officials have said the civilians who are hiding in the steel plant’s vast network of underground tunnels are mostly women and children.
A woman identified only as Viktoria told The Times that she has been in communication with her 36-year-old brother, a national guard soldier who has been sheltering in Azovstal since the start of the war. She didn’t want to name him for safety reasons.
“There are many civilians,” she told The Times. “I think many of them are the staff of Azovstal. Also, there are many of those whose homes were destroyed. Many elderly and children.”
The woman told The Times that, according to her brother, many of the children sheltering in Azovstal are getting gray hairs and have started stuttering from the stress of seeing their parents be killed.
“Some are losing hair and teeth,” she added.
Insider was unable to independently verify Viktoria’s claims. It is also unclear how many children are being impacted, or where and when exactly their parents died.
Earlier this week, Russian forces started carrying out renewed airstrikes on the Azovstal plant and even tried to storm it, Ukrainian officials said.
On Thursday, Ukrainian forces in the plant said on Telegram that Russian troops had bombed a field hospital located in the plant. It is unclear how many people died in the attack.
The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday that Ukrainian forces are planning on getting civilians out of the steel plant. He did not give any more details about the specifics of the operation.
The United Nations said on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed “in principle” to an evacuation attempt from Azovstal.