Ukrainian officials said 156 evacuees from Mariupol arrived in Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday, May 3, but said several hundred more were still sheltering at Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant — the last holdout of Ukrainian forces in the city.
Mayor of Mariupol Vadym Boychenko thanked the United Nations (UN), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk for helping to facilitate the evacuations, in a statement issued by the Mariupol City Council.
The UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani, said she was “relieved to confirm that the safe passage operation from Mariupol” was successful. “The people I traveled with told me heartbreaking stories of the hell they went through,” Lubrani said. “I’m thinking about the people who remain trapped. We will do all we can to assist them,” she added.
The evacuees included women, children, and elderly people, according to Ukraine’s public broadcaster, Suspilne. Some people fleeing areas of Zaporizhzhia region joined the evacuation convoy in their own vehicles, Suspilne reported.
Both Vereshchuk, who was in Zaporizhzhia to welcome the convoy, and Governor of Zaporizhzhia Oblast Oleksandr Starukh said Russians had violated the evacuation agreement by not allowing people to board evacuation buses in the towns of Tokmak and Vasylivka to the south of Zaporizhzhia.
Starukh said that when it was clear that a full evacuation of Mariupol was not possible, agreements were made to collect people in Berdyansk, Tokmak, and Vasylivka. However, Russian forces refused to allow buses to stop in the towns, Starukh said. Credit: Suspilne via Storyful