Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereschuk announced on Saturday that all of the women, children and elderly civilians trapped in the Azovstal complex in Mariupol have been evacuated. Russian forces had paused their assault on the plant to allow the escape of civilians, some of whom say they were held hostage there by militants.
“The President’s order has been carried out: all women, children and the elderly have been evacuated from Azovstal. This part of the Mariupol humanitarian operation has been completed,” read a Telegram post from Vereschuk on Saturday evening.
Russia had held open a humanitarian corridor from the plant between 8am and 6pm Moscow time every day since Thursday. While Ukraine accused Russia of breaching its self-imposed ceasefire, civilians streamed out of the plant, where several hundred had been holed up for up to two months.
Donetsk People’s Republic forces said on Saturday that 50 civilians had left the plant for their territory that day, while the UN announced that 500 civilians had been evacuated from the facility in the night between Thursday and Friday.