Zelensky says second stage of Mariupol evacuation completed
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday confirmed the completion of a second part of the evacuation of Mariupol, a hard-hit port city in the besieged country
“The second stage of our evacuation operation from Mariupol was completed today,” Zelensky said, adding that 344 people were evacuated in that effort.
“We are negotiating and hope to continue rescuing people from Azovstal, from Mariupol. There are still civilians. Women, children,” the president also said.
Zelensky made reference to “Mariupol residents and defenders of the city” as a battle over the port city’s Azovstal steel mill continues.
Late last month, a United Nations spokesperson said Russia had agreed “in principle” to evacuating Ukrainian civilians and troops from the steel plant following a meeting between U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Prior to that meeting, Moscow’s forces had attempted to storm the steel plant, which housed troops and civilians in Mariupol.
But as of Thursday, the battle for the mill continued and is considered the last Ukrainian resistance in the city otherwise under Russia’s control.
Throughout the invasion, which began on Feb. 24, Zelensky has previously spoken of the devastation in Mariupol, calling it “inhuman.”
“The situation in Mariupol remains as severe as possible. Just inhuman,” Zelensky said in April. “This is what the Russian Federation did. Deliberately did. And deliberately continues to destroy cities. Russia is deliberately trying to destroy everyone who is there in Mariupol.”