Russia announces a temporary ceasefire in the vicinity of Azovstal to allow the evacuation of civilians

Azovstal steel plant. – VICTOR / XINHUA NEWS / CONTACTOPHOTO

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MOSCOW, 4 May. (DPA/PE) –

Russia announced a temporary ceasefire on Wednesday around the Azovstal steel plant, in the besieged city of Mariupol, to allow the evacuation of the hundreds of civilians who still resist in the facilities, according to the Ukrainian authorities.

The humanitarian corridors will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, sources from the Russian Defense Ministry’s humanitarian affairs team said.

“During that period of time, the troops of the Russian Armed Forces and the Donetsk People’s Republic will cease all combat operations” and “units will withdraw to a safe distance,” Moscow said.

Likewise, the Russian authorities have indicated that the civilians who are evacuated from the Azovstal facilities will be able to decide whether to remain in Ukraine or be transferred to Russia.

This Monday the Ukrainian authorities blamed Russia for a new failure in the evacuation work from the city of Mariúpol after new fighting broke out around the Azovstal steel plant, after more than 150 people were able to leave since last weekend, according to kyiv reported.

The Azovstal plant is one of the last strongholds of the city of Mariupol that Russia has left to conquer, in its attempt to take full control of eastern and southeastern Ukraine and thus be able to form a corridor linking the regions of Donbas and the Crimean peninsula, in turn limiting kyiv’s outlet to the sea.

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