Some civilians were evacuated from the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol after the ceasefire was announced, according to a commander of the Azov Regiment, one of the Ukrainian soldiers trapped at the plant.
Captain Svyatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov Regimentsaid the ceasefire, which was supposed to begin at 6 a.m. local time, ends at 11 a.m. local time.
“It’s true now, both sides are following the ceasefire regime,” he said.
The evacuation convoy was very late, he said. “From 6 a.m., we waited for the evacuation convoy to arrive, 6:25 a.m. to arrive”
“We have brought 20 civilians to the agreed rendezvous point, whom we have managed to rescue from the wreckage. These are women and children. We hope these people will reach their destination. united, it is Zaporizhzhia, the territory controlled by Ukraine,” – said Palamar.
“Currently, the rescue operation is going on, conducted by Azov’s soldiers – we rescue civilians from the rubble,” he added.
“These are women, children and the elderly,” he said in a video message on the regiment’s Telegram channel.
“We hope that this process will be extended further and that we will successfully evacuate all civilians,” he said.
“As for the injured – who needed urgent medical attention – it is not clear why they were not evacuated and their evacuation to the territory controlled by Ukraine has not been discussed. “, he added.
“I stress that we ask to ensure the evacuation not only of civilians but also of our wounded service members who need medical attention.”
TASS, Russia’s state news agency, on Saturday said a group of civilians had left the steel plant. A reporter present at the scene told TASS that a total of 25 people were out, including six children under the age of 14. CNN was unable to independently verify the TASS report.
Hundreds of people are thought to be inside the steel complex, including dozens injured in a heavy Russian bombardment over the past several weeks. Latest satellite image of the factory showed that many of its buildings had been reduced to rubble.
Defenders of the Azovstal factory say Wednesday night’s attacks hit the makeshift hospital inside the complex, significantly increasing the number of injured.
Here’s what part of the tree looked like about six weeks ago: