KYIV - Ukraine has accused Russia of dropping phosphorus bombs on troops who were today evacuated from the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol after more than 80 days under siege.

In a message on the Telegram messaging app, Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of the besieged port city, alleged that “the occupiers themselves claim that they used 9M22C incendiary rockets with thermite layers” in devastating attacks over the weekend.

“The temperature of the flames is about 2,000 to 2,500 degrees celsius,” he continued. “It is almost impossible to stop the burning.”

Ukrainian officials and humanitarian organisations had voiced fears over “the fate of about 1,000 soldiers” in the Azovstal steelworks, which was “the last holdout of Ukrainian resistance in the occupied port city for over two months”, said The Times. The soldiers, “hundreds of whom are injured”, were facing “dire conditions” and “relentless” bombings prior to their evacuation after 82 days inside the metals factory, the paper reported.