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Ukraine evacuates thousands of civilians from Mariupol after reaching an agreement with Russia

Ukraine evacuates thousands of civilians in Mariupol after reaching an agreement with Russia - Photo 1.

A resident in Mariupol drags his belongings past damaged buildings on April 19 – Photo: REUTERS

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko told Reuters news agency that about 90 buses would be sent to the city on April 20. The first to be evacuated included 6,000 women, children and the elderly.

Mr. Boichenko, who has now left Mariupol, hopes the humanitarian corridor in the city will be maintained. He said about 100,000 people are still trapped in the port city.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Iryna Vereshchuk, said that the country had reached a preliminary agreement with Russia on the creation of a humanitarian corridor to evacuate the elderly, women and children in the city of Mariupol.

“Given the dire humanitarian situation in Mariupol, this is where we will focus our efforts today,” Vereshchuk wrote on Facebook.

Speaking on BBC radio, Mariupol Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov described the situation in this city as extremely difficult. “The city is completely sealed off, lacking food, water, medical care, help and everything… So of course people want to evacuate to the territory controlled by Ukraine,” Orlov said.

On the same day, the Ukrinform news agency quoted Ukrainian forces in the Azov region as saying that the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol was heavily damaged.

In the latest report, British intelligence said that it would be difficult for Russian forces to quickly control Mariupol due to strong resistance from Ukrainian forces, among other technical and logistical challenges. ..

Earlier, on April 19, Russia again called on Ukrainian soldiers at the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol to lay down their weapons, and said their troops would cease fire for the day when this call came into effect. Russian television said about 120 civilians living near the Azovstal plant had been evacuated through humanitarian corridors.

Russia criticizes cease-fire calls

In another development, diplomat Dmitry Polyansky, Russia’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said that the current call for a ceasefire was only to give Ukraine time to rest, gather and receive more weapons from the other side. West.

“Calls for peace and a ceasefire are just two-sided slicks,” Mr. Polyansky said.

Earlier, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a 4-day ceasefire between the two sides on the occasion of Holy Week of Eastern Orthodoxy, from April 21. The pause in fighting will help open humanitarian corridors, allowing aid to reach the hardest-to-reach areas such as Mariupol, Kherson.

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