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Civilian Evacuation Postponed As Russia Continues Shelling City Despite Ceasefire Agreement

Hannah Smith

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Civilian Evacuation Postponed As Russia Continues Shelling City Despite Ceasefire Agreement

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

The deputy mayor of the besieged city of Mariupol has said a planned evacuation has been postponed amid reports that Russian forces are continuing to attack the city despite a temporary ceasefire.

Russia and Ukraine announced this morning that a ceasefire would be observed to allow civilians to escape from Mariupol and the smaller city of Volnovakha, with both sides agreeing to pause hostilities until 4.00pm local time.

However reports have emerged from local authorities warning that Russia was failing to observe the ceasefire along the agreed humanitarian corridor, with the city of Mariupol itself also reported to still be experiencing shelling.

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Mariupol (Alamy)
Mariupol (Alamy)

'The Russians are continuing to bomb us and use artillery. It is crazy,' deputy mayor Serhiy Orlov told the BBC, adding 'there is no ceasefire in Mariupol and there is no ceasefire all along the route. Our civilians are ready to escape but they cannot escape under shelling.'

In messages posted to the social media app Telegram, the city's council said that fighting was continuing on the route to Zaporizhzhia where the 'green route' from Mariupol and Volnovakha ends, while Ukrainian deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the government believed that Russian troops may be planning to use the ceasefire to further advance towards Mariupol, per Sky News.

One resident in the city told the BBC that despite the establishment of a green corridor shelling was continuing 'every three to five minutes,' saying 'I can see cars of people who tried to flee and they are coming back.'

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Orlov said it had been hoped that up to 9,000 people would be able to leave the city under today's ceasefire, with local authorities putting on special buses to assist with evacuations.

However those plans have now been postponed, with the deputy mayor saying that continued attacks on the city had made it 'impossible to evacuate people.'

'We understand that [the ceasefire] was not true from the Russian side, and they continue to destroy Mariupol. We decided to move our citizens back because it’s not safe to be on the streets,' he said.

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A wider evacuation process over a period of several days is ultimately hoped to give 200,000 women, children and elderly residents the chance to evacuate. Prior to the start of the war Mariupol had a population of around 431,000 people.

The city is understood to be encircled by Russian forces, with running water and electricity having been shut off for several days.

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Topics: News, Russia, Ukraine, World News

Hannah Smith
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