Russia announces ceasefire at Azovstal factory in Mariupol to evacuate civilians (Update)

“The Russian armed forces will open a humanitarian corridor from 08:00 to 18:00 Moscow time (05:00 to 15:00 GMT) on May 5, 6 and 7 from the site of the Azovstal metallurgical plant to evacuate civilians,” it said on Wednesday. evening the Ministry of Defence.

“During this period, the Russian armed forces and the units of the People’s Republic of Donetsk (unilaterally proclaimed by the pro-Russian separatists, editor’s note) will unilaterally cease fire and hostilities,” the ministry continued in a statement.

Civilians who have taken refuge in the factory will be allowed to reach Russia or the territories under the control of kyiv, he assured.

Earlier in the day, the mayor of Mariupol, Vadim Boïtchenko, had affirmed that intense combats were in hand although Moscow had assured not to attack this immense complex where are entrenched in underground galleries dating from the Second World War both Ukrainian fighters and civilians without food and medicine.

“With the support of the air force, the enemy again tried to take control of the factory compound. Without success,” the Ukrainian forces’ general staff said in the evening. .

A Ukrainian commander of the Azov regiment which defends the steel plant announced on Tuesday that the Russians had launched “a powerful assault” on this site, but the Kremlin denied this information on Wednesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a telephone interview to help “save” the wounded in these ruined facilities.

The UN has already participated on Sunday in the organization of the evacuation of a hundred civilians trapped in Azovstal, the last pocket of resistance in Mariupol, a strategic city in the south-east almost entirely controlled by Russian forces.

“There was a time when we lost hope, we thought everyone had forgotten about us,” said one of the evacuees, Anna Zaitseva, with her six-month-old baby, Svyatoslav, in her arms.

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