Heavy fighting forced the closure of a major steel plant. Local authorities appealed for more Western assistance.
The Russians would be able to take a significant battlefield advantage if they fall Mariupol, which was the site of some of the worst sufferings in the war, as they are currently largely trapped outside major cities for more than three weeks of the largest land invasion of Europe since World War II.
"Children and elderly are dying. The city has been destroyed and is wiped off the surface of the earth," Mariupol Police Officer Michail Vershnin stated from a rubble-strewn alley in a video addressed at Western leaders, which was authenticated by The Associated Press.
Russian forces have already isolated the city from the Sea of Azov. Their fall would connect Crimea, which Russia annexed last year, with territories held by Moscow-backed separatists to the east. This would be a rare victory in the face of the fierce Ukrainian resistance, which has stymied Russia's hopes of a quick victory and galvanized West.
According to Vadym Denysenko (a consultant to Ukraine's interior minister), the Azovstal steel facility in Mariupol was seized by Russian and Ukrainian forces. Denysenko stated in televised remarks that "one of the largest metallurgical plant in Europe is being actually destroyed."
Oleksiy Arestovych was a consultant to the president of Ukraine. He stated that the closest forces that could help Mariupol's defenses were fighting against the "overwhelming force of the enemy" or at most 100 kilometers (60 miles).
He said Friday that there is no military solution for Mariupol. "That's not just my opinion; that's the opinion of military personnel."
Volodomir Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, has not lost his cool. He appeared in a video shot early Saturday on the streets Kyiv to protest a massive Friday rally in Moscow, which was attended by Vladimir Putin.
Zelenskyy claimed Russia created a humanitarian disaster by blocking vital supplies to the country's largest cities. He appealed to Moscow as well.
Zelenskyy stated, "Time to speak." It is time to restore territorial integrity, justice and justice for Ukraine. Russia's losses are so severe that it will take many generations to repair.
The Pentagon has estimated that more than 7,000 Russian troops were killed in Ukraine so far.