Status: 01.05.2022 01:03 am
More than 1,000 civilians are surrounded by Russian troops at the Azov Steelworks in Mariupol. Apparently, some of them have now been able to leave the premises. However, Russia continues to besiege the factory premises.
According to Ukrainian sources, 20 civilians left the fiercely contested Azov steelworks in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol on Saturday to be taken to safety. The people, including women and children, were taken to an agreed place, said the deputy commander of the Azov regiment, Svyatoslav Palamar. His unit defends the steelworks against Russian troops.
Palamar expressed hope that people can be taken to Zaporizhia in Ukraine-controlled territory. Russian news agencies had previously reported that civilians could have left the plant. According to them, there should have been 25 people.
conflicting parties as a source
In the current situation, information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties provided by official bodies of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict parties cannot be directly checked by an independent body.
Ceasefire appears to be observed
The Azov regiment is searching the industrial site for more civilians and hopes they can all be taken to safety, commander Palamar said. For the time being, however, there are no plans to evacuate the injured. According to the Azov regiment, Russia is said to have shelled the factory premises with artillery on Saturday night. A ceasefire that had been agreed for 6 a.m. only began five hours later, but has been observed since then.
The steelworks site is the last bastion of the Ukrainian resistance in the port city of Mariupol, which was largely destroyed by Russian attacks. Half a million people lived there before the Russian invasion began. According to Ukrainian information, a total of around 1,000 civilians – including dozens of children – are said to have sought refuge in the steelworks’ bunkers.
UN urged escape route
Russia, on the other hand, speaks of around 2,500 Ukrainian fighters and foreign mercenaries who are also said to have holed up there. So far, they have refused to surrender and give up the strategically important city on the Azov Sea, most of which has already been taken by the Russians.
Kyiv and Moscow recently agreed, mediated by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, to set up an escape route for civilians. So far, however, there have been no major evacuation successes. More than nine weeks after the start of the Russian war of aggression, the situation of the people trapped in the Azowstal works is considered catastrophic.