The evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal steel plant continues in Ukraine

After nearly two months of siege, civilians holed up at the Azovstal steel mill in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol started being evacuated over the weekend and people taking refuge on Monday. in other parts of the city have been cleared, local officials said.

A published video online Ukrainian forces on Sunday showed elderly women and mothers with small children climbing a steep pile of rubble from the sprawling Azovstal steel mill and eventually boarding a bus.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that more than 100 civilians are expected to arrive in the Ukraine-controlled city of Zaporozhye on Monday.

“Today, for the first time in every day of the war, this badly needed (humanitarian) corridor started working, ”Zelensky said in a pre-recorded speech posted on his Telegram channel.

There were concerns for the safety of the displaced. Those who in in the past they fled areas occupied by Russia and reported shooting at theirs auto and Ukrainian officials have repeatedly accused Russian forces of bombing agreed evacuation routes.

A Ukrainian defender of the Azovstal steel plant has urged organizations such as the United Nations and the Red Cross to ensure the safety of the displaced. Svyatoslav Balamar, deputy commander of the Azov regiment, told the Associated Press in an interview that there should be guarantees from “a third party – politicians and world leaders – to negotiate with the Russians to get us out of here”.

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Another defender of the factory said Russian forces resumed shelling on Sunday after the evacuation of a group of civilians was completed.

Denis Shlyga, commander of the 12th operational brigade of the Ukrainian National Guard, said in a televised interview Sunday night that several hundred civilians were still trapped, along with nearly 500 wounded soldiers and “many” bodies. “Dozens of small children are still hiding under the lab,” Schleiga said.

There may still be up to 100,000 people in Mariupol, including around 2,000 Ukrainian fighters under the sprawling Soviet-era steel mill, the only part of the city not occupied by the Russians.

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