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The UN confirms that civilians can now evacuate during a ceasefire.
So far, around 100 people have been able to leave the Azovstal steel plant.
“If you have relatives or acquaintances in Mariupol, try to contact them in any way possible. Call, write and say it is possible “, write the local authorities.
Evacuation into the besieged Mariupol was in principle an impossibility. Promises of humanitarian corridors have been broken several times.
A ceasefire has now been negotiated. The UN confirmed on Sunday that the evacuation of civilians to Mariupol has begun, reportedly BBC.
Saviano Abreu, UN spokesman, says so AP news agency that the evacuation is carried out in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross and coordinated with the Ukrainian and Russian representatives. The convoy began its journey to Mariupol last Friday.
Ukrainian President Zelenskii said Sunday afternoon that a first group of about 100 people had been evacuated from the Azovstal steel mills.
“Thanks to our team! They are now working with UN representatives to evacuate the rest of the civilians from the steel mills,” Zelenskii tweeted.
Mariupol City Council writes on Telegram and invites residents to come to Port city, which is a shopping mall, at 4pm.
“If you have relatives or acquaintances in Mariupol, try to contact them in any way possible. Call, write and say that it is possible to get to Zaporizhzhia where he is safe. Let’s pray that everything works “, reads the message.
Saviano Abreu tells AP that the situation is “very complex” and that the evacuation. The convoys will pass several checkpoints before reaching areas controlled by Ukrainian forces.
He stopped for a turn
Since Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has signaled a turning point and that an “operation” was underway with the hope of evacuating civilians. Then there was the president’s radio silence.
The next day, local authorities said there was an opportunity to get the public out of the city.
“There is hope for the evacuation of Mariupol residents to Ukraine-controlled areas. We are awaiting confirmation,” the City Council wrote on Telegram.
full-screen civilians who fled the area around the Azovstal in Mariupol. Photo: ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO / Reuters
On Saturday night, the Ukrainian parliament announced that 20 women and children were rescued from landslides at Azovstal steel mills and subsequently evacuated.
How many civilians remained in Mariupol is not confirmed. Before the outbreak of the war, more than 400,000 people lived in the port city. More than 100,000 are believed to have been trapped in the city since the Russians besieged the area. 1,000 of them and 2,000 soldiers remain inside the Azovstal steel mills.
Mayor Vadym Boychenko has already left the city.
“The residents who managed to leave the city said there is a hell and it is Mariupol,” he said BBC.
“The border between life and death”
Mariupol is a strategically important point for Russia to achieve its goal of a land corridor between the Crimean peninsula and eastern Ukraine. Since the war broke out, there has been fierce fighting in the area and the lack of food, water, medicine and hygiene items is severe.
“It is the line between life and death,” Mayor Vadym Boychenko told the BBC.
It is not yet clear how many civilians died in Mariupol. Local authorities estimate that there could be 20,000 people. Several mass graves were found on the outskirts of the city.
In a statement, the mayor accuses Russia of killing twice as many people in Mariupol than when the city was occupied during World War II.
“This is one of the worst civilian genocides in modern times,” he said.
Footnote: The circulating figures on the dead and wounded in war are very uncertain and should be interpreted with great caution.
FULL SCREEN Earlier this week, people’s relatives gathered in Mariupol to demonstrate. “UN saves our lives” is written on one of the signs. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky / APhelskärm They demanded that both civilians and soldiers be evacuated from the United Nations. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky / AP