Evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant 2022-05-01 07:48:00

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  • Groups of civilians leave the steelworks in Azovstal
  • Can refer to an agreement to evacuate civilians
  • The siege of Mariupol has left the city a wasteland
  • Pope says Mariupol ‘brutally bombed’

BIZEMEN, Ukraine (Reuters) – More than 50 civilians were evacuated on Sunday from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol in a convoy carrying vehicles bearing United Nations symbols, in a sign of a deal to ease the ordeal of Iraq’s most devastating blockade. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The siege of Mariupol, during which Russian and Ukrainian forces have fought each other for nearly two months, has turned the port city into a wasteland with an unknown number of dead and thousands trying to survive without water, sanitation or food.

The city is under Russian control but some fighters and civilians are still hidden in the works of Azovstal – a massive Soviet-era factory founded under Joseph Stalin designed with a maze of bunkers and tunnels to withstand attacks.

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A group of about 40 civilians arrived on Sunday at a temporary shelter after leaving the area around the Azovstal plant, in one of the first major signs of an evacuation deal, a Reuters photographer said.

Reuters pictures showed civilians arriving in the village of Bizimeni in the Russian-backed Donetsk region, about 30 km east of Mariupol, carrying Ukrainian number plates in a convoy with Russian troops and vehicles bearing UN codes.

A Reuters photographer said another group of about 14 people later arrived at the accommodation center.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said after meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Thursday that intense discussions were underway to allow Azovstal to be evacuated.

A UN spokesman said he could not immediately comment. An aide to the mayor of Mariupol declared a period of silence, awaiting official statements about the evacuations.

Pope Francis on Sunday described the war in Ukraine as a “horrific retreat for humanity” that made him “suffer and weep”, calling for the creation of humanitarian corridors to evacuate people trapped in the steel mills in Mariupol. Read more

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that two groups of civilians left the residential area around the Azovstal works on Saturday.

A video released by the Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday showed vehicles bearing the symbols of the United Nations and the Red Cross. Reuters was unable to verify the video, which was released by the Defense Ministry.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said a “special military operation” was necessary because the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Russia and Moscow had to defend Russian speakers against persecution.

He says that Ukraine and Russia are basically one country. Ukraine says it is fighting Russia’s seizure of imperialist territory and that Putin’s claims of genocide are nonsense.

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Reporting by Reuters. Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Angus McSwan

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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