Some civilians have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol after a ceasefire was imposed, according to a commander of the Azov regiment, one of the Ukrainian soldiers captured at the factory.
Captain Svyatoslav Palamar, Deputy Commander of the Azov Regiment, said the ceasefire, which was to begin at 6 local time, ended up starting at. 11 local time.
“At present, it is the truth that both sides are following the ceasefire regime,” he said.
The evacuation convoy was very late, he said. “Since 06.00 we have been waiting for the evacuation convoy to arrive, which only arrived at 18.25”
“We have brought 20 civilians to the agreed meeting place, which we have managed to save from under the rubble. It is women and children. We hope that these people will go to the agreed destination, which is Zaporizhzhia, the area controlled by Ukraine, “said Palamar.
“At the moment, the rescue operation is underway, carried out by the soldiers from Azov – we are rescuing civilians from under 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 this process will be further extended and we will successfully evacuate all civilians,” he said.
“As for the wounded – the people in need of emergency medical care – it is unclear to us why they are not being evacuated and their evacuation to the territory controlled by Ukraine is not being discussed,” he added.
“I stress that we ask to guarantee the evacuation not only for civilians but also for our wounded soldiers who require medical attention.”
TASS, Russia’s state news agency, said earlier Saturday that a group of civilians had left the steel plant. A correspondent at the scene told TASS that a total of 25 people came out, including six children under 14 years of age. CNN cannot independently verify the TASS reporting.
Hundreds of people are believed to be inside the steel complex, including dozens injured during an intense Russian bombing raid over the past many weeks. Recent satellite images of the facility show that many of its buildings have been reduced to ruins.
Defenders of the Azovstal plant said the attacks on Wednesday night had hit the temporary hospital inside the complex, greatly increasing the number of wounded.
This is what part of the plant looked like about six weeks ago: