After Russia announced a truce that included a ceasefire in the vicinity of the Azovstal steel mill in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol for three days, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday to help save the injured by the complex.
Zelensky said during a telephone conversation with Guterres that the lives of the people left there are in danger, stressing everyone’s importance and calling for international assistance to evacuate, according to a statement from the presidential office.
334 people evacuated
The president also appealed to the organization to help get all the wounded out of Azovstal, explaining that hundreds of fighters and civilians, including dozens of children, are holed up in the corridors below the factory.
The statement came as evacuations, led by the Red Cross and the United Nations, continued from Mariupol and neighboring towns.
Deputy Prime Minister Irina Verichuk revealed via Telegram that 334 people were evacuated from thearea Wednesday. She considered what happened “another small victory for her country of hers”, as she put it.
Interestingly, the United Nations participated on Sunday in organizing the evacuation of some 100 civilians trapped in Azovstal with Ukrainian fighters.
Meanwhile, the Russian military announced on Wednesday that it will open humanitarian corridors from the factory on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to allow civilians to leave the compound.
He also added that the corridors will be open daily from 0800 to 1800 Moscow time.
He also made it clear that during this time Russian forces will stop any military activity and withdraw units at a safe distance.
Interestingly, the huge Azovstal factory was transformed into the last of the city’s “resistance” fortresses, where thousands of fighters and civilians were barricaded, Ukrainian authorities announced.
However, in recent days, after having imposed the siege on the famous factory, the Russians have announced a ceasefire, with the aim of leaving civilians and fighters indifferent, on condition that they surrender.
Then the two sides exchanged accusations of violating the armistice and not allowing the evacuation of civilians, before the efforts of the United Nations and the Red Cross produced a new batch a few days ago.
Since the launch of the Russian military operation on the lands of its western neighbor on February 24, Mariupol, overlooking the Sea of Azov, has been a strategic target for Moscow, as its control will open a land corridor for the movement of Russian forces between Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, which Moscow annexed to its territory in 2014.
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