Russia sets Mariupol plant cease fire for civilian evacuation

AFP , Wednesday 4 May 2022

Russia said its forces would cease fire at the Azovstal steel plant in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and open a humanitarian corridor for civilians for three days beginning Thursday.

This satellite image shows damage at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, May 4, 2022. AP


"The Russian armed forces will from 8 am to 6 pm (Moscow time, 0500 GMT to 1500 GMT) on May 5, 6 and 7 open a humanitarian corridor from the territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant to evacuate civilians," the defence ministry said on Wednesday.

"During this period, the Russian armed forces and formations of the Donetsk People's Republic will unilaterally cease any hostilities," the ministry said in a statement.

Civilians that have been sheltering at the plant will be allowed to travel to Russia or Kyiv-controlled territory, the statement added.

Mariupol is one of the most battered cities in Ukraine. A group of Ukrainian forces are still holding out at the plant.

Ukraine has accused Moscow of launching a "powerful" assault on the industrial zone, the last redoubt of Ukrainian forces in the city.

The mayor of Mariupol said that contact had been lost with Ukrainian forces holed up in the plant amid "heavy fighting" with Russian troops.

The Russian army said Tuesday its forces were using artillery and planes to target Azovstal, accusing Ukrainian troops of using a pause in fighting to once again take up their combat positions at the plant.

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