Photo: UKRAINIANT PRESIDENTS OFFICE/ZUMA PRESS/PICTURE ALLIANCE / Deutsche Welle
The Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, announced this Sunday (05.01.2022) that a first group of 100 civilians has already been evacuated from the Azovstal steelworks in the port city of Mariúpol, besieged for days by Russian forces.
A first group of about 100 people “is already on its way” to the area controlled by Ukraine, Zelensky wrote on his Twitter account, adding that “tomorrow we will meet them in Zaporizhia,” referring to the region in the south of the country. .
“I am grateful to our team. Now, together with the United Nations, it is working on the evacuation of more civilians from the plant,” the Ukrainian president said.
According to Ukrainian sources, at least 500 civilians and a thousand fighters from the Azov Regiment, which is part of the kyiv armed forces, remain in the Azovstal steelworks.
In addition, in the facilities there are half a thousand wounded, between civilians and soldiers, without access to medical treatment and with increasingly scarce reserves of water and food.
Hours earlier, Russian media reported that 40 civilians, including 18 men, 14 women and eight children, had been evacuated from the plant’s territory in three buses and transported to the town of Bezimenne, some 30 kilometers from Mariupol.
The UN confirmed the operation
On the sidelines, the spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Saviano Abreu, confirmed the operation to evacuate a first group of about a hundred civilians at the Azovstal steelworks in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, which began on Friday. , an operation in which the Red Cross, Russia and Ukraine are collaborating.
The operation began the day after the meeting between UN Secretary General António Guterres and the Ukrainian president, in which he promised to do “everything possible” to evacuate civilians from the Azvostal steel mill in the Ukrainian city. from Mariupol.