The International Committee of the Red Cross is preparing to establish a humanitarian corridor to Mariupol, in order to evacuate civilians from the besieged and embattled city on April 1, report Ukrainian news agency Interfax-Ukraine on March 31.
“For logistics and security reasons, we'll be ready to lead the safe passage operation tomorrow, Friday, provided all the parties agree to the exact terms, including the route, the start time, and the duration,” the ICRC’s message reads.
An ICRC team is already en route towards Mariupol, along with all the necessary equipment and supplies to facilitate a safe evacuation of civilians.
“It's desperately important that this operation takes place. The lives of tens of thousands of people in Mariupol depend on it,” the organization added.
On March 30, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said that Russia has agreed to let a humanitarian convoy of 45 buses into Mariupol to evacuate civilians.
Mariupol has been under near constant siege and has seen unceasing combat since very nearly the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, resulting in up to 90% of the city being destroyed, according tolocal authorities. Over one hundred thousand people remain in Mariupol, where the humanitarian situation has been described as “catastrophic.”