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Vladimir Putin‘s army has been caught admitting to the use of banned munitions including white phosphorous ammunition as evidenced by a new telephone conversation between the Russian invaders, which was intercepted by the Security Service of Ukraine. Phosphorous is an incredibly destructive incendiary weapon similar to napalm which burns at incredibly high temperatures and melts through a target indiscriminately.
In the intercepted phone call, one of the Russian soldiers can be heard saying: “So, you see, everything that was forbidden by international conventions: cassettes [cluster], phosphorus – we were allowed everything, we let off everything there.”
The Ukrainian military has been warning since 2014 over the use of phosphorous by the Russian Armed Forces operating in Ukraine.
In a post on Facebook accompanying the leaked audio, the Ukraine Ministry of Defence wrote: “The SBU has repeatedly recorded the use of prohibited means of destruction by the Russian occupiers in the area of anti-terrorist operation / environmental protection.
“After the start of a large-scale invasion, these war crimes were committed by the occupiers along the entire front line.
“The Security Service of Ukraine documents each of them.
“Interceptions and collected data will be included in materials in international courts hearing on the Russian military.”
On Sunday, brightly burning white munitions were seen raining down on the besieged Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol in what a British military expert said looked like an attack with phosphorus or other incendiary weapons
Russia said on Monday that it had agreed to evacuate wounded Ukrainian soldiers from the bunkers below the steelworks to a medical facility in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk.
“An agreement has been reached on the removal of the wounded,” the Moscow defence ministry said in a statement.
“A humanitarian corridor has been opened through which wounded Ukrainian servicemen are being taken to a medical facility in Novoazovsk.”
Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar told Ukrainian television: “Any information can harm the processes that are taking place … Inasmuch as the process is under way, we can’t say what’s happening right now.”
As Russian forces pummelled Mariupol for nearly two months, some civilians and Ukrainian fighters sought refuge in the Azovstal works – a vast Soviet-era plant founded under Josef Stalin and designed with a labyrinth of bunkers and tunnels to withstand attack.
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Most civilians were evacuated from the plant this month after the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross brokered a deal with Russia and Ukraine.
But Ukrainian fighters remain at the plant.
Natalia Zaritskaya, wife of a member of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion, told reporters: “The ring around Azovstal has tightened. We can’t delay any further. We pin our last hope and believe that through the joint efforts of Turkey, through its President Erdogan, and China, through its President Xi Jinping, and God himself, it is possible to save Azovstal and the people who are there on the cusp of life and death.
“They are in hell. They receive new wounds every day. They are without legs or arms, exhausted, without medicines.”