More than half of the Ukrainian fighters who were inside Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant have now left, Russia's TASS news agency cited the leader of pro-Russian separatists in control of the area, Denis Pushilin, as saying on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear how many fighters Pushilin was referring to and Reuters could not immediately verify the claim. Ukraine and Russia have given conflicting accounts of how many fighters have left the plant. (Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)