“Today we managed to get 50 women, children and elderly people out of Azovstal. Tomorrow morning we will continue the evacuation operation,” Vereshchuk announced on Telegram.
She accused the Russian forces of having “constantly violated” the ceasefire decreed by Moscow during the evacuations. “The evacuation was therefore extremely slow,” she said.
Earlier Friday, the Azov regiment, which defends the huge steelworks where the last Ukrainian fighters from Mariupol are entrenched, accused Moscow troops of having targeted one of its cars taking part in the operation to evacuate civilians, killing a soldier.
Evacuations are taking place under the aegis of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and began last weekend, and have allowed nearly 500 civilians to flee, according to Kyiv.
The UN and the ICRC announced on Thursday afternoon that they had sent a new convoy to Azovstal, where there would still be hundreds of soldiers, many of whom were injured, and dozens of civilians, according to the municipality.
The capture of Azovstal would allow Moscow to claim full control of Mariupol, a strategic port at the southern tip of the Donbass which had nearly 500,000 inhabitants before the war but was devastated by two months of siege and bombing.