Russian military on Friday controlled the boarding of a bus by the evacuated civilian population of Azovstal in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Friday. Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Saturday that “all women, children and the elderly have been evacuated” from the Azovstal plant. Photo by Alessandro Guerra / EPA-EFE
May 7 (UPI) – Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Saturday that “all women, children and the elderly have been evacuated” from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.
“The president’s order has been carried out,” Vereshchuk said in a statement on Facebook. “This part of the Mariupol humanitarian operation is over.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross, which has been working with the United Nations to evacuate civilians from the plant, has not yet ruled on the end of the operation.
Azovstal’s evacuations began in earnest last weekend with dozens of civilians leaving the steel plant to meet with Ukrainian officials in Zaporizhzhia. But many more were thought to be trapped inside Saturday morning.
It was not immediately known how many civilians were evacuated from the plant on Saturday. Soldiers and civilians remain trapped inside the plant.
Alexander Khodakovsky, a commander of the Russian-backed separatist Vostok battalion, said Saturday in a post on his Telegram channel first detected by NBC News that a group of Ukrainian fighters had surrendered while waving a white flag.
The Azov Regiment, a Ukrainian volunteer force that has been defending the area around the plant, said in its own Telegram publication that white flags were used as part of evacuation efforts.
“Both groups use white flags to implement the civilian evacuation plan,” according to Azov’s regiment.
“Also this time, both groups used these flags to evacuate the citizens of the territory of the Azovstal plant. We would like to emphasize that this procedure is being held for the fourth time.”
President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday announced $ 150 million in military aid to Ukraine amid fears of escalation as the war between Russia and Ukraine enters its eleventh week.
The military aid package includes 25,000 155mm artillery cartridges, three AN / TPQ-36 counter-artillery radars, electronic blocking equipment and field equipment and spare parts.