Mariupol: evacuation from the defeated steel mill in progress

Hundreds of people, dozens of them injured, are thought to be inside the compound, the last Ukrainian resistance in the city after weeks of heavy Russian bombing.

An estimated 100,000 people remain in the city, officials said.

A first group of about 100 people headed to the “controlled zone”, to meet Monday in the Ukrainian-controlled southern region of Zaporizhzhia, Zelensky. tweeted Sunday.

“The evacuation of civilians from Azovstal has begun,” Zelensky said.

“Grateful to our team! Now they, together with #ONU [United Nations]they are working on evacuating other civilians from the plant, “he added.

The start of the evacuation was confirmed by the International Committee of the Red Crosswho said he would collaborate with the UN on the operation.

A convoy left on Friday, traveling 230 kilometers to reach Mariupol on Saturday morning, the ICRC said in a statement.

“The ICRC insists that no details can be shared until the situation allows, as it could seriously jeopardize the safety of civilians and the convoy. The relevant local authorities are communicating with civilians on practical details,” he adds. the statement.

The Russian news agency TASS, citing the Moscow Defense Ministry, reported that 80 civilians were rescued from the “territory” of the Azovstal plant and evacuated to a Russian-controlled complex a few miles away.

It is unclear if any of them come from within the plant itself.

“Civilians evacuated by the Russian military from the Azovstal plant, who wished to leave for areas controlled by the Kiev regime, were handed over to representatives of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross,” the ministry said.

A satellite image shows an overview of the Azovstal steel mill, the site of the last Ukrainian military resistance that doubles as a civilian shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine on April 29.

‘We pray that everything works out’

On Sunday, Mariupol city council urged civilians to gather near a shopping center as there was a “opportunity” of an evacuation corridor in Zaporizhzhia from the defeated city.

“If you have relatives or acquaintances in Mariupol, try to contact them in all ways. Call, send a message and say that it is possible to go to Zaporozhzhia, where it is safe,” said the Council on Telegram, ordering civilians to meet around “Port City Mall” at 4pm

“We pray that everything works,” he added.

The start of the evacuation comes the day after two groups of civilians were evacuated from the vicinity of the defeated Azovstal plant, according to to Russian state news agencies.

A total of 46 people left “residential buildings adjacent to Azovstal” and “received accommodation and food,” said TASS and RIA Novosti, citing the Russian Defense Ministry.

Russian agencies did not disclose where the displaced were being taken.

'They never expected Mariupol to resist.' Locals are horrified by Russia's relentless attack on vast steel plant protecting Ukrainians
At the beginning of Sunday, a Ukrainian commander inside the plant he said some civilians had been evacuated from the plant on Saturday following the introduction of the ceasefire.

the chap. Svyatoslav Palamar, the deputy commander of the Azov regiment, said the ceasefire, which was supposed to begin at 6 am, ended at 11 am.

Palamar said 20 women and children were taken to the “agreed meeting point” in the hope that they would be evacuated to the “agreed destination” of Zaporizhzhia.