Highlights

  • Civilians being evacuated from steel plant in Mariupol
  • 1 lakh people still stuck in Mariupol
  • Soldiers, civilians sought shelter in steel plant

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Russia-Ukraine war: Civilians being evacuated from steel plant in Mariupol

As many as 100,000 people are believed to still be in blockaded Mariupol, including up to 1,000 civilians who were hunkered down with an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters beneath the Soviet-era steel plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has confirmed that an evacuation is underway of civilians at a steel plant in the bombed-out city of Mariupol.

Zelenskyy said on social media on Sunday that a group of 100 people are on their way from Azovstal steelworks to Ukrainian-controlled territory.

As many as 100,000 people are believed to still be in blockaded Mariupol, including up to 1,000 civilians who were hunkered down with an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters beneath the Soviet-era steel plant — the only part of the city not occupied by the Russians.

Zaporizhzhia, a city about 141 miles (227 kilometers) northwest of Mariupol, is the expected destination of the evacuation effort. Zaporizhzhia was the destination of Mariupol residents who managed to flee the city on their own when previous Red Cross- and Ukrainian-organised evacuations had to be called off due to ongoing shelling or concerns about route safety.

The U.N. said the convoy to evacuate civilians started on Friday, travelling some 140 miles (230 kilometers) before reaching the plant in Mariupol on Saturday morning.

Also watch: Angelina Jolie visits Ukraine, meets displaced people in Lviv

People who have fled Russian-occupied areas have at times described their vehicles being fired on. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly accused Russian forces of shelling evacuation routes on which the two sides had agreed.

Russia's high-stakes offensive in coastal southern Ukraine and the country's eastern industrial heartland has Ukrainian forces fighting village-by-village and more civilians fleeing airstrikes and artillery shelling as war draws near their doorsteps.

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