Ukraine to evacuate Mariupol civilians today

"Our corridor will go exclusively in the direction of Zaporizhzhia," she said, calling on people "not to give in to provocations."
Ukraine to evacuate Mariupol civilians today
Russia, UkraineFILE

Agency Report

Ukraine will make a new attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, the heavily destroyed city largely controlled by Russian forces, at noon on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

"Today we will again try to evacuate women, children and the elderly," Vereshchuk said on Telegram, calling for people to gather on the motorway close to the Port City shopping centre in the city.

"If everything happens as planned, we will start the evacuation around noon."

Three busses carrying evacuees from Mariupol arrived in Zaporizhzhia Thursday after Ukraine cancelled evacuation attempts for three consecutive days due to a lack of agreement from the Russian side.

Vereshchuk warned later Saturday that Moscow forces may try to organise evacuations towards Russia.

"Our corridor will go exclusively in the direction of Zaporizhzhia," she said, calling on people "not to give in to provocations."

On Friday evening she vowed Ukraine will continue to try to get civilians out of the shattered city.

There has been hope for a weekend truce between Ukraine and Russia, as both countries celebrate Orthodox Easter.

Russia has declared it de-facto controls Mariupol, aside for the giant Azovstal steel plant where hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and allegedly some civilians remain holed up.

Ukraine has repeatedly called for a ceasefire to allow the civilians out of the heavily destroyed port.

The Azov battalion, a nationalist Ukrainian regiment that has led the defence of the city, posted a video this week showing civilians -- including children, toddlers and babies -- allegedly hiding on the territory of the Azovstal plant.

Several women who appeared in the footage says they have been in the factory for two months. Clothes could be seen hanging from pipes in the footage.

It was not possible to verify the video, but some of the children were the same ones that appeared in previous Azov videos, and two women in the footage said "today is April 21."

"We want to go home and see sunlight," said one boy.

EU chief Charles Michel said that he had urged the Russian President Vladimir Putin to allow safe passage from Mariupol in a Friday phone call.

AFP

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