Kyiv (The Times Groupe)- Ukraine has evacuated all women, children, and elderly from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, a government official said Saturday.
“The humanitarian operation in Mariupol has been completed,” the Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk wrote on Telegram about the evacuation, which occurred amid a long, devastating siege of the port city.
Many of those allowed to leave had to leave their husbands, fathers, and sons behind because men of fighting age were not included in the evacuation.
As Russia continues its military offensive to capture Mariupol, the population of Mariupol has endured harsh humanitarian conditions, including critical shortages of power, food, and water.
Thousands of Ukrainian fighters were trapped in an underground tunnel network at Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant along with hundreds of civilians.
Approximately 3,309 civilians have been killed and 3,493 injured in Ukraine since Russia launched its war on the country on Feb. 24. The real death toll is likely much higher.
The UNHCR estimates that more than 5.7 million people have fled to other countries and 7.7 million have been internally displaced.