Ukraine's Azovstal civilian evacuees reach Zaporizhzhia: AFP

AFP , Sunday 8 May 2022

Eight buses carrying 174 civilians including 40 evacuated from Azovstal steelworks at the Black Sea port of Mariupol arrived in Ukrainian-controlled Zaporizhzhia Sunday, an AFP reporter witnessed.

Evacuation, Ukraine
People board a bus during an evacuation of civilians on a road near Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, May 4, 2022. AP


The 40 were evacuated Saturday from the steelworks, where the last Ukrainian soldiers in the devastated city are holed up, surrounded by Russian troops.

"I'm relieved to confirm that we managed to bring 174 more people to safety from the hell of Mariupol today," Osnat Lubrani, the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Ukraine, tweeted.

"Our work is not yet done. I don't forget those who've been left behind," she added.

Earlier Sunday, the Ukrainian soldiers holding out at the steelworks, made it clear they would not surrender.

"We, all of the military personnel in the garrison of Mariupol, we have witnessed the war crimes performed by Russia, by the Russian army," said Ilya Samoilenko, an Azov regiment intelligence officer.

"We are witnesses. Surrender is not an option because Russia is not interested in our lives."

Ukraine presidential aide, Mykhaylo Podolyak, said on social media Sunday that Kyiv "won't stop until we evacuate all our people" from Azovstal.

Late Saturday, Kyiv called on the aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to evacuate the last remaining soldiers there, many of whom are wounded.

The Azovstal steel mill is the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the devastated port city and its fate has taken on a symbolic value in the broader battle since Russia's invasion.

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