At least 1,000 civilians hiding under Ukrainian stronghold steel plant in Mariupol- city council

April 18 (Reuters) - No fewer than 1,000 civilians are hiding in underground shelters beneath the vast Azovstal steel plant in the southeastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, the city council said on Monday, adding that Russia was dropping heavy bombs onto the Ukrianian-held factory in the besieged city.

"Mostly the (civilians) are women with children and old people," the city council wrote on the Telegram messaging app. Street battles have been taking place in Mariupol over the past week as Russian forces seek to take full control of the city from Ukraine.

Reporting by Max Hunder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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