Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine

About 800 people are hiding in several bomb shelters under the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk, which has been the target of Russian missile attacks, said Serhiy Hayday, the head of the Luhansk region’s military administration.

Hayday told CNN on Thursday that local residents had sought refuge in the Soviet-era bomb shelters under the factory.

“There are locals there who have been asked to leave town,” Hayday said. “But they refused. There are also children there, but not many.

In a separate update on Thursday, Ukrainian regional officials said the Russians fired again at the Azot plant and “hit one of the administrative buildings and a warehouse where the methanol was stored”, although it is not clear how much methanol remained there.

The Ukrainians still maintain control of the Severodonetsk industrial zone, the statement said, one of the remaining parts of the city that Russia did not take.

“Most of” Severodonetsk, one of the last cities to resist Luhansk, was taken by Russia, Hayday said earlier.

Hayday said a Russian airstrike hit a nitric acid tank at the Azot plant on Tuesday. Footage from that day showed a thick cloud of orange smoke rising from the area. But Hayday said people sheltering under the plant were not in danger.

“Thank goodness nothing threatened the people,” Hayday told CNN on Thursday. “As (the cloud) rose and moved immediately, there is no mortal danger.”

Hayday said the plant is privately owned and the owners say only small amounts of chemicals remain at the plant.

Hayday added that the plant is not important from a military point of view, so “Azot is certainly not Azovstal” – referring to the Mariupol steelworks which Russia took after a one-year siege. week.

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