ZAPORIZHZHIA (UA) -- Civilians trapped at a Mariupol steel plant began to evacuate over the weekend. People who were staying elsewhere in the city would be allowed to leave on Monday, officials stated.
The video was posted online by the Ukrainian forces on Sunday and showed elderly mothers and small children scaling a tall pile of rubble from the Azovstal steel plant's sprawling Azovstal Steel Plant. They then boarded a bus.
According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, more than 100 civilians are expected to arrive in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine's president.
Zelenskyy stated in a recorded address, published on Telegram's messaging channel, that "Today, for all the days war", the vitally needed (humanitarian), corridor had started working.
There were concerns about the safety and well-being of the evacuees. There were concerns about the safety of evacuees. In the past, people fleeing Russian-occupied territories described being shot at and Ukrainian officials repeatedly claimed that Russian forces had shelled agreed-upon evacuation routes.
Ukrainian defense of the steel plant called on groups such as the U.N. or the Red Cross to ensure safety for those being evacuated. Sviatoslav Palmar, the deputy commander of Azov Regiment, stated to The Associated Press that there should be assurances from "a third party" -- politicians, world leaders -- that they will work with Russians to get us out of here.
Another defender of the plant said that Russian forces began shelling the plant on Sunday after a group of civilians had been evacuated.
Commander of the 12th Operational Brigade of Ukraine’s National Guard Denys Shlega stated in a televised interview that hundreds of civilians are still trapped along with nearly 500 wounded soldiers, and "numerous" bodies.
Shlega stated that "plenty of small children are still in bunkers beneath the plant",
Mariupol could still have 100,000 inhabitants, with an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters living beneath the sprawling Soviet-era steel plant. This is the only area of the city that was not occupied in the Russian occupation.
Mariupol, a port on the Sea of Azov has suffered some of the most severe suffering. In the first weeks of war, a Russian airstrike struck a maternity hospital. Hundreds of people were also killed in the bombing of a theatre.
Because of its strategic location close to the Crimea Peninsula, Russia took it from Ukraine in 2014. This makes it a major target.
On Sunday, Palamar, the commander of Ukraine, said to the AP that it was difficult even for some of the injured in the steel plant.
"There's rubble. We don't have any special equipment. He said that soldiers have difficulty lifting slabs of tons weighing over 100 kg with their arms. U.N. Saviano Abreu, a humanitarian spokesperson, said that civilians who arrive in Zaporizhzhia (about 140 miles (230 km) northwest of Mariupol), would be provided immediate humanitarian assistance, including psychological services. In preparation for the U.N. convoy, a Doctors Without Borders team visited Zaporizhzhia's reception center for people who have been displaced.
Palamar called for civilians and wounded fighters to be evacuated from Ukraine.
He said that he didn't know why the soldiers were not taken away and that their evacuation to Ukraine is not being discussed in a Saturday video posted on Telegram.
Palamar stated that the plant is being protected by marines and police officers, as well as border guards and coast guards. Palamar said that the remains of the bodies of the Ukrainian fighters are still inside the plant. "Because we believe we will be able to move them to Ukrainian government-controlled territory. To bury heroes with honors, we must do everything."
Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House Speaker, and other U.S. legislators visited Zelenskyy Saturday to support Ukraine's defense against Russia’s invasion. Since Russia's February 24th invasion, she is the highest ranking American lawmaker to visit the country.
Zelenskyy, in his Sunday night address, accused Moscow of "a war for extermination." He claimed that Russian shelling had struck food, grain, fertilizer warehouses and residential areas in Kharkiv and Donbas.
According to him, more than 350,000 people were evacuated from combat zones during the war thanks to humanitarian corridors that had been pre-agreed between Moscow and Washington. He said, "The organization and operation of humanitarian corridors are one of the elements in the ongoing negotiation process."
Residents of Zaporizhzhia ignored the sirens of air raid sirens and went to cemeteries on Sunday when the Orthodox Christian day for the dead was observed.
Hennadiy bondarenko, 61, stated that if our dead could see this, they would be unable to believe it. He was marking the occasion with his family at a picnic table amid the graves. "All our dead, including the Cossacks, would join the fighting."
After their failed capture of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, Russian forces launched a major military operation in order to seize large parts southern and eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian forces fought village-by-village and civilians fleding artillery shelling and airstrikes to stop their offensive.
Ukrainian intelligence officers claimed that Russian forces had seize medical facilities in order to treat wounded Russian soldiers. They also destroyed medical infrastructure.
It is difficult to get a complete picture of the ongoing battle in eastern Ukraine because it is dangerous for reporters to move about and both sides have placed strict restrictions on reporting from the conflict zone.
However, Western military analysts suggest that the Russian offensive is moving much slower than expected. Since the beginning of the eastern offensive, Russian troops and Russian-backed separatists have only made minor gains.
While hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid in military aid to Ukraine, the vast armies of Russia mean that Ukraine will still need huge amounts of assistance. Russia's offensive may intensify, as it has plenty of firepower in reserve. The Russian army is estimated to have 900,000 personnel on active duty, as well as a larger air force, navy, and air force.
In Russia, there have been a lot of explosions and fires near the border in recent weeks. According to the regional government, an explosive device caused damage to a railway bridge in Kursk, which borders Ukraine. A criminal investigation was initiated.
Fisch reported from Sloviansk. This report was contributed by Jon Gambrell, Yuras Karmanau, Mstyslav Cernov, and Associated Press staff around the globe.