According to various sources, in total, 45 civilians were evacuated from Azovstal.
The first group of 25 people left the facility by themselves, another group of 20 civilians were released by the militants of Azov regiment.
- According to military correspondents from the spot, the first group of civilians did not use the humanitarian corridor secured by Russian forces.
About 20 buses for evacuation of about 600 civilians were brought to Mariupol. According to other sources, 77 buses were sent to the plant by the UN for evacuation. However, not all civilians left the industrial zone.
So far, the information has been confirmed by correspondents on the spot. The Russian Ministry of Defence is yet to comment on the evacuation. There is also no information from representatives of the UN or the Red Cross, who have taken part in the evacuation today.
The first testimonies of those who left the facility by themselves were published.
A woman who has been previously seen on the videos shared by Azov militants confirmed that the civilians were threatened by Ukrainian militants.
” – We left the factory on our own without the help of the military through the destroyed fence.
– How did the Ukrainian military treat you?
– Us? They cajoled the children, like all the military. They said that everything would be fine. They brought a chocolate bar, divided it for everyone. We (the adults) were threatened: “You will not leave, you will be shot there.”
The same woman gave interview to Azov militants in Azovstal:
- According to Azov militants blockaded in Azovstal, 20 civilians left the territory of the industrial facilities. At the same time, Ukrainian militants had previously stated that thousands of civilians were “taking shelter” in Azovstal.
- According to Azov “press person” Kalina, the group of 20 civilians were taken from under the rubbers in Azovstal. The others civilians are reportedly still under debris and Azov fighters are trying to save them. No footage supported the claims.
- Azov militants are surrendered in the Azovstal, and DPR servicemen confirm the shelling on the firing positions of the Ukrainian nationalists.
As soon as the international organisations are involved in the evacuation process, the reported hundreds of civilians are allegedly unable to leave the facilities.
This fact confirms once again that the civilians are taken hostage and that Azov militants won’t let them go before they are assured in their own security.
- The evacuation was carried at night. Thus, civilians could not be identified by the reporters.
The busses headed towards the village of Bezymennoe for filtration so that nationalist militants could not escape disguised as civilians.
The Russian position is reportedly the following: civilians can be transferred in any direction, including to the territory under the Kiev’s control, for example to the city of Zaporozhie, however, all those who came out from Azovstal are filtered.