The mayor of the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol says those hiding at a massive steel mill are running out of food, water and medicine.
Vadym Boichenko described the situation at the Avozstal steel plant as dire.
The steel mill is the last position held by Ukrainian fighters, who also are with civilians.
The Soviet-era facility has a vast underground network of bunkers able to withstand airstrikes.
But the situation has grown more extreme after the Russians dropped a series of so-called “bunker buster” bombs and unguided munitions.
“Locals who manage to leave Mariupol say it is hell, but when they leave this fortress, they say it is worse,” Mr Boichenko said, according to a translator.
“They are begging to get saved.”
He added: “There, it’s not a matter of days, it’s a matter of hours.”
Mr Boichenko said he hoped a ceasefire would allow those inside the steel mill to safely leave.
Russia earlier offered a truce that was rejected by Ukrainians, who said Moscow previously broke other agreements.
“We hope there’s a slight touch of humanity in the enemy,” the mayor said.
Mr Boichenko spoke in a government-organised video conference.