Ukraine: UN-Red Cross operation underway to evacuate civilians from stricken Mariupol plant

A United Nations and Red Cross (ICRC) operation to evacuate desperate civilians trapped in the Azovstal steel plant in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol is underway, the Spokesperson for the humanitarian affairs office in the country confirmed on Sunday.

“A safe passage operation…is ongoing today”, said Saviano Abreu, of OCHA in Ukraine, adding that the efforts are being “coordinated” by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, “in coordination with the parties to the conflict.”

According to news reports, more than 100 civilians were allowed to leave in the first phase of the operation.

Mr. Abreu said it had been agreed by Russian and Ukrainian authorities that the civilians who have been in the heavily damaged steel plant for nearly two months, “women, children and the elderly”, will be evacuated to Zaporizka, which is under Ukrainian control to the north of Mariupol. More