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Civilians Evacuated From Bombed Out Mariupol Steel Plant

by Guy D. McCardle May 2, 2022
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Civilians Evacuated From Bombed Out Mariupol Steel Plant

Escape From Mariupol

Civilian evacuations are underway at a Mariupol steel plant that has become the last holdout against Russia’s quest to control the strategic port city, the deputy commander of a Ukrainian regiment said in a video shared Saturday on Telegram. An estimated 1,000 civilians and more soldiers taking shelter in the Azovstal steel plant’s underground bunkers are running out of food, water, and medicine. Still, they continue to hold out against Russian forces.

A woman and her daughter arrive at a refugee center in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia on April 30, after evacuating Mariupol. Image Credit: Heidi Levine

Deputy commander of the Azov Regiment, Captain Svyatoslav Palamar, said 20 women and children have left in the hope of being taken to Zaporizhzhia, a city about 130 miles to the northwest where evacuees have been shuttled. Mykhailo Vershynin, chief of the Donetsk regional patrol police, told reporters that a first group had been taken to a collection point, where more civilians are expected to be taken Sunday before traveling to Zaporizhzhia in a convoy.

Deputy Commander for the Azov regiment, Captain Svyatoslav Palamar, is seen issuing a video statement from Mariupol as Russia continues to bombard Ukraine. 24 April 2022. Image Source: Azov handout via Reuters.

Conditions Likened To A Concentration Camp

Russian forces have managed to reduce large parts of Mariupol to ruins around the vast complex and its underground catacombs, where Palamar and his Ukrainian contingent are making a last stand. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who claimed control of the city last week, said the plant should be sealed off so that “not a fly” could escape.

Palamar is defiantly quoted as saying:

“As long as we’re here and holding the defense… the city is not theirs.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was quoted last Friday as saying that Mariupol is currently “like a Russian concentration camp among the ruins.”

People in the Azovstal steel plant, the last holdout still under Ukrainian control in the city, are protected to an extent by underground bunkers in the Soviet-era facility. But Russians have been dropping 3,000-pound bunker-buster bombs, making the situation even more dire.

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