Ukraine said on Saturday that all women, children and elderly civilians had been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in the destroyed port city of Mariupol where Ukrainian forces are resisting Russian troops.
“The President’s order has been carried out: all women, children and the elderly have been evacuated from Azovstal. This part of Mariupol’s humanitarian mission is over,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a statement. posted on social media.
The Azovstal steelworks is the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the devastated port city and its fate has taken on symbolic value in the wider battle since the Russian invasion.
Vereshchuk said Friday that 50 people had been evacuated from the sprawling steel mills. The Russian Defense Ministry said 11 of them were children, abducted as part of a mission coordinated with the UN and the Red Cross.
Latest estimates suggested around 200 civilians were still trapped in the Soviet-era tunnels and bunkers beneath the sprawling Azovstal factory, along with a group of Ukrainian soldiers making their last stand.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that “diplomatic options” were underway to rescue Ukrainian soldiers from the Mariupol steel plant, as civilian evacuations continued.
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