KYIV: A group of 20 civilians are leaving the Azovstal steelworks, where the last Ukrainian troops in the Black Sea port of Mariupol are holed up, the soldiers there said on Saturday (Apr 30).
“Twenty civilians, women and children … have been transferred to a suitable place and we hope that they will be evacuated to Zaporizhzhia, on territory controlled by Ukraine,” said Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov regiment.
They were still going through the rubble searching for civilians to rescue after a night of Russian bombardment there, he added, in a video posted on Telegram.
Earlier on Saturday, a correspondent from Russia’s TASS news agency reported from the city that 25 civilians – including six children younger than 14 – had quit the site.
“All night, the enemy artillery bombarded the site,” Palamar added.
“The ceasefire that should have started at 6am (3am GMT) didn’t start until 11am. Since then, the two sides have respected it,” he added.
“The evacuation convoy we had been expecting at 6am only arrived at 6.25pm.
“The Azov regiment is still clearing the rubble to get civilians out,” said Palamar. “We hope this procedure will continue that we will manage to evacuate all the civilians.”
No attempt to evacuate people from the Azovstal site has so far succeeded.