Red Cross attempts to evacuate Mariupol, Ukraine, again

Ukrainians evacuated from areas near Mariupol wait after arriving at a triage point in Kyiv, Ukraine. File Photo by State Emergency Service of Ukraine/ UPI

April 2 (UPI) — The Red Cross is expected to attempt to evacuate Mariupol again Saturday after Friday’s efforts failed.

“Conditions made it impossible to proceed,” on Friday, and the evacuation team had to return to Zaporizhzhia, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement, adding that it “will try again on Saturday to facilitate the safe passage of civilians from Mariupol.”

“For the operation to succeed, it is critical that the parties respect the agreements and provide the necessary conditions and security guarantees,” the statement added.

Russian forces seized the southern city of Mariupol in the early days of its more than five-week long invasion, and tens of thousands remain trapped with scarce access to food and water since the Red Cross team’s convoy turned back Friday.

The Red Cross said on Friday it had received clearance from Ukraine and Russia on the evacuation plan, which included 54 buses.

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Venediktova, said in a statement on her Telegram channel that the corridor for Mariupol was among seven humanitarian corridors to evacuate people from Ukraine’s besieged regions planned for Saturday, NBC News reported.

“Ukrainian forces continue to advance against withdrawing forces in the vicinity of Kyiv,” Britain’s Defense Ministry said in its latest update on Twitter.

“Russian forces are reported to have withdrawn from Hostomel airport, which has been subject to fighting since the first day of the conflict,” the defense ministry added.

Still, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a late-night video address that Russian forces have planted mines, including around homes and corpses, in areas where they are withdrawing ground forces, and “airstrikes can continue.”


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