After weeks of siege, the famous Azovstal complex in the southeastern city of Mariupol is empty of civilians, but a number of Ukrainian fighters are still stuck.
Kyiv confirmed that many fighters in the huge industrial site are still stuck, noting that their situation is very difficult.
The Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories in Ukraine said in a statement that the soldiers remained for 72 days in a row under continuous bombardment and attacks by the Russian army, stressing that due to “the lack of medicine, water and food, a number of wounded soldiers died of gangrene and sepsis.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his hope for a second phase of evacuation on Sunday.
Evacuation of all women and children
And the Ukrainian authorities announced earlier yesterday, Saturday, that all women, children and elderly civilians who were hiding with the fighters were evacuated from the basements of the sprawling steel factory, which turned into the last of the fortresses steadfast in the face of the Russian forces that took control of the coastal city after weeks of siege.
Last Friday, he managed to leave the city’s factory on the coast of the Azov Sea.
These operations, which have been taking place for a week under the auspices of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, have opened the way for the evacuation of nearly 500 civilians so far, according to Kyiv.
It is noteworthy that since the launch of the Russian military operation on Ukrainian territory, on February 24, the city of Mariupol has been a strategic target for the Russian forces, especially since controlling it opens a road and a land corridor between the Ukrainian east and the south, where the Crimea peninsula, which Russia annexed to its lands in 2014.