Evacuation to continue from Ukraine’s Mariupol

Kiev, May 2 (IANS) Ukrainian authorities will on Monday the evacuation of people stranded in the besieged city of Mariupol which began the previous day, head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak said.

In the first stage on Sunday, 100 women, children and elders were evacuated from Mariupol, Yermak said in a social media post, adding that they were due to arrive in the southern city of Zaporizhzhya.

He thanked the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross for their support for the evacuation efforts, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to Petro Andryushchenko, an advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, the evacuation began at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The evacuation from Mariupol was the centre-piece of talks between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on April 28.

In an announcement on Sunday night, Zelensky said that an evacuation was underway from inside the Azovstal plant, the last stronghold of the Ukrainian troops in Mariupol.

“The first group of about 100 people is already heading to the controlled area,” he said, adding that they will also arrive in Zaporizhzhya on Monday.

At least 20 persons were evacuated on April 30, becoming the first group to leave the plant since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the vast industrial area sealed off a week ago.

Mariupol, a key Azov Sea port city in eastern Ukraine, has witnessed one of the worst bouts of violence in the ongoing war.