Deputy Prime Minister: All women, children, and elderly evacuated from Azovstal

Saturday, 7 May 2022, 19:18

Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, said that all women, children, and the elderly have been evacuated from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

Source: Iryna Vereshchuk on Facebook

Quote from Vereshchuk: “The President’s order has been carried out: all women, children, and the elderly have been evacuated from Azovstal. This phase of Mariupol humanitarian operation has been completed.”



Details: Soldiers of the Ukrainian Defence Forces remain on the territory of Azovstal steel works; they continue defending the steel works from the Russian troops, which significantly outnumber them. The military are essentially encircled in the steel works’ bunkers.

Relatives and friends of Mariupol’s defenders are relentlessly appealing to the Ukrainian government and the international community to urgently rescue the Ukrainian soldiers. In particular, they are calling for an extraction operation akin to the Dynamo operation undertaken by the Allied Forces during the siege of Dunkirk in June 1940. At Dunkirk, rescue ships evacuated British, French, and Belgian soldiers and allied units when they were surrounded by the forces of Wehrmacht on land.

Ukraine’s military-political command has insisted that it is making every diplomatic effort possible to rescue Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol. Breaking the siege of Azovstal militarily would require heavy artillery systems and aviation support, which is currently lacking. The Ukrainian command also asked bloggers and regular citizens not to  share fake and unverified information about the current state of the military operation on the territory of Azovstal and in Mariupol.

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Background

  • On 1 May, the Ukrainian government, aided by the UN and the ICRC, was able to evacuate some of the civilians who were hiding from the Russian occupiers in Azovstal bunkers in Mariupol. The evacuation convoy arrived to Zaporizhzhia on 3 May. In order to enable this operation, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres conducted several meetings with world leaders and has personally visited Moscow and Kyiv to arrange the operation’s details.
  • On 4 May, 344 civilians were evacuated to Zaporizhzhia via the “Mariupol corridor.” This was the second phase of the evacuation operation facilitated by the UN and the ICRC.
  • On 6 May, the Ukrainian government successfully evacuated 50 civilians, including children, from the territory of Azovstal.
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that if Russia kills any of the people at Azovstal, civilian or military, negotiations between the two countries might end.

On 6 May, Russian troops killed 3 Ukrainian soldiers and wounded 6 more during the evacuation of civilians from Azovstal; they shelled the vehicle which was taking the civilians to an agreed checkpoint. Russian occupiers also shared fake information regarding the alleged capitulation of Ukrainian troops who “came bearing white flags,” even though white flags have been used to mark the evacuation of civilians.