Mariupol evacuation halted again ‘due to Russian shelling’

‘It is extremely dangerous to take people out under such conditions,’ city council says

Zoe Tidman
Monday 07 March 2022 14:22
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The Ukrainian city of Mariupol has halted the evacuation of its citizens for the second day in a row, saying it could not go ahead due to Russian shelling.

Authorities said it would be “extremely dangerous” to proceed as planned on Sunday as the industrial port city remained under attack despite a temporary ceasefire agreement.

It was the second time the evacuation was called off over the weekend, with Russia accused of not respecting a truce on both occasions.

Residents in Mariupol were told to return to their shelters on Saturday instead of going ahead with plans to leave the city by a humanitarian corridor as fighting was still happening.

Later, authorities said a new ceasefire had been agreed and another attempt would be made to get people out safely between 12pm local time (10am GMT) and last till 9pm (7pm GMT) on Sunday.

It was hoped the planned evacuation of Mariupol would have allowed remaining residents to safely leave the city, which has been under siege for a week.

But the city council called this off again on the day, saying a convoy of evacuees was not able to leave because of continued shelling from Russian forces.

“It is extremely dangerous to take people out under such conditions,” it said in a statement.

Anton Gerashchenko, an Interior Ministry advisor, also said the planned evacuations along humanitarian corridors were halted because of an ongoing assault.

It came on the 11th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has seen cities devastated by missiles, heavy fighting across the country and hundreds of civilians killed.

More than 1.5 million people are estimated to have fled the country since the attack was launched last week.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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