The first civilians were evacuated from the steel mills in Mariupol as Pelosi visits Kyiv 2022-05-01 07:09:00

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The first group of civilians who were sheltering under a steel factory that was the last stronghold of Ukrainian forces in the devastated city of Mariupol managed to get out.

As the speaker of the US House of Representatives, a senior Ukrainian soldier inside the Azovstal steel plant said that about 20 women and children had left, Nancy Pelosi, she met Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, where she pledged his country’s support for the “struggle for freedom”. Pelosi, whose visit has not been announced in advance, is the highest-ranking US official to meet with the Ukrainian president since the war began.

About 1,000 civilians and 2,000 Ukrainian fighters are believed to be sheltering under steelworks in Azovstal, the only part of the devastated city not controlled by Russian forces.

Late Saturday night, a senior soldier from the Azov battalion in the Soviet-era steel mills said that 20 women and children managed to get out. “We are pulling civilians out of the rubble with ropes,” Svyatoslav Ballamar told Reuters. “The elderly, women and children.” On his Telegram channel, Ballamar called for the evacuation of the wounded: “We don’t know why they were not taken and evacuated to the area under his control.” Ukraine It is not discussed.”

On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that 46 people have left the Azovstal facilities, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

The once prosperous port city was destroyed by Russian forces MariupolIt is a major target for Moscow because of its strategic location near Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Nancy Pelosi pledges US support for Ukraine “until the fighting is over” in an interview with Zelensky – video

Meanwhile, Zelensky on Sunday released footage of a previous meeting between him, Pelosi and representatives of the US House of Representatives Jason Crowe, Jim McGovern, Gregory Mix and Adam Schiff. The US spokesman pledged America’s support “until the battle is over.”

“We are visiting you to say thank you for your freedom struggle,” she said in a video posted to Zelenskiy’s Twitter account. “And that your fight is a fight for everyone, so our commitment is to be there for you until the battle is over.”

last week Joe Biden called for a $33bn (£26bn) package Military, humanitarian and economic support to Ukraine, which is more than double the level of US assistance to date. The US president asked Congress to immediately approve the aid, dwarfing Ukraine’s entire defense budget.

As the United States increases its support for Ukraine, the German chancellor has dismissed criticism that Berlin has not done enough. In an interview with Bild am Sonntag, Olaf Schulz said he made decisions “quickly and in coordination with our partners”.

Ukraine is now looking to China, as well as the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, to provide security guarantees. In an interview with the official Chinese news agency Xinhua on Sunday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that China’s proposal to provide a security guarantee is “a sign of our respect and trust in the People’s Republic of China.”

On the 77th day of the war, Russia continued its reconstituted campaign to seize parts of southern and eastern Ukraine, after failing to capture Kyiv. On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it attacked an airport near Odessa and claimed to have destroyed a hangar containing weapons supplied by foreign countries. “Onyx high-precision missiles on a military airfield in the Odessa region destroyed a hangar with weapons and ammunition from the United States and European countries, and also destroyed the runway,” RIA Novosti quoted a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry as saying. The report has not been independently verified.

Meanwhile, the governor of Kharkiv warned the residents, on Sunday, not to leave the shelters due to the “intense shelling”. Ole Sinihopov asked residents in the northern and eastern regions of the city, especially Saltivka, not to leave their shelters unless it was urgent.

In his nightly video address on Saturday, Zelensky urged Russian forces not to fight in Ukraine, saying even their generals expect thousands more to be killed.

He accused Moscow of recruiting new soldiers “with little motivation and little combat experience” so that units destroyed early in the war could be put back into battle. “Every Russian soldier can still save his life,” Zelensky said. “It is better for you to survive in Russia than to die on our land.”

As the first civilians were reported to have left the Azovstal plant, the photographs showed the excruciating situation of several thousand remaining.

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Two Ukrainian women, who shared photos and videos with the Associated Press, said their husbands were among the refuse-to-surrender fighters at the factory, showing unidentified men with smeared bandages, while others had open wounds or amputations.

The women, who identified their husbands as members of the Azov battalion of the Ukrainian National Guard, said a large medical staff was treating at least 600 wounded. They said some of the wounds were rotting from gangrene.

The men in the video said they only eat once a day and share at least 1.5 liters of water a day between four people, and that supplies inside the besieged facility have run out.

The Associated Press was unable to independently verify the date and location of the video, which the women said was taken last week in the maze of hallways and bunkers under the factory.

She urged the women to evacuate the Ukrainian fighters along with the civilians, warning that they could be tortured and executed if captured. “The lives of soldiers are also important,” Yulia Fedosyuk told the news agency.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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