Russian TV shows fighting at Mariupol steel plant

The mayor of Mariupol said on Wednesday that heavy fighting was underway at the Azovstal steel plant, the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the port city.Russian State TV showed pictures of smoke rising over Azovstal, soldiers in the streets of Mariupol in an industrial area, and artillery being fired in the Donetsk region - footage which cannot be independently verified by The Associated Press.Ukrainian commanders said earlier Russian forces backed by tanks began storming the sprawling plant, which includes a maze of tunnels and bunkers spread out over 11 square kilometers (4 square miles).How many Ukrainian fighters were holed up inside was unclear, but Russian authorities have said the number is around 2,000 in recent weeks, and 500 were reported to be wounded.A few hundred civilians have remained at the plant, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has claimed.Getting a full picture of the unfolding battle in the east has been difficult because airstrikes and artillery barrages have made it extremely dangerous for reporters to move around. Both Ukraine and the Moscow-backed rebels fighting in the east also have introduced tight restrictions on reporting from the combat zone.

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