More than 3,000 people were “rescued” from Mariupol

Ukrainian authorities announced that more than 3,000 people fled the Mariupol region by buses and private cars, while the Red Cross, after an initial failure, prepares for a new attempt to evacuate and devastate the besieged port city on Saturday.

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On the 37th day of Moscow’s decided invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces loosened their hold on Kyiv and regrouped to focus on the country’s east, where they would face an experienced Ukrainian army, signaling a “protracted” conflict that the Pentagon has warned could last for months.

In the southeast, Mariupol is still disputed between the two sides, and the humanitarian situation there is catastrophic. Evacuations of civilians, which had been impossible for weeks, are now taking place gradually.

Today (Friday) humanitarian corridors worked in three regions: Donetsk, Lugansk and Zaporozhye. “We managed to rescue 6,266 people, including 3,071 from Mariupol,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video broadcast at night from Friday to Saturday.

“1431 people from Berdyansk and Melitopol traveled alone to Zaporozhye. 771 of them came from Mariupol”, 42 buses from Berdyansk with Mariupol residents and 12 from Melitopol with local residents “were on their way in the evening to Zaporozhye, for a total of” more than 2500 people ‘, he said. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Verychuk stressed that further evacuations were “expected and planned” on Saturday.

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On Friday evening, AFP monitored the entry of about 30 evacuation buses into the city of Zaporozhye, some carrying people who had fled Mariupol on their own and then taken by bus to the territory controlled by Ukraine.

“I’m crying, I just saw my granddaughter,” said Olga, a Ukrainian woman who was waiting at the organized center in Zaporozhye for displaced families.

“His mother’s family is still in Mariupol and we don’t know if they are alive,” she added. “There are no words to say how happy I am to see her safe.”

“impossible”

These Mariupol residents were able to reach the Russian-occupied city of Berdyansk, where the convoy took care of them, according to arrival statements to AFP and state officials.

And the International Committee of the Red Cross, which was scheduled to participate in the evacuation, announced Friday that its team that was sent to Mariupol was forced to return, planned to evacuate thousands of civilians from this coastal city besieged by Russian forces. Being “impossible” that day.

“The ICRC team, which includes three vehicles and nine people, did not reach Mariupol and was unable to facilitate the safe passage of civilians today,” the organization said in a statement at the time.

“They will try again on Saturday to facilitate the safe passage of civilians from Mariupol,” the Red Cross added.

The latter stressed that “for the process to succeed, it is necessary that the parties respect the agreements and provide the necessary conditions and security guarantees.”

Conditions weakened due to the continuation of the fighting. Russia on Friday accused Ukraine of carrying out a helicopter attack on its soil and threatening to intensify negotiations.

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Kyiv has not said if it was behind the attack, with President Zelensky telling US Fox News: “I’m sorry, I’m not discussing my orders as commander in chief.”

The Pentagon has announced that it will provide up to $300 million in additional military assistance to Ukraine, including laser-guided missile systems and Switchblade “kamikaze” drones, as well as Puma light drones.

On Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Britain’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, would be in Moscow to try to secure a “humanitarian ceasefire” in Ukraine.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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