Over 350,000 people have been evacuated from warzones in Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address on May 1.
Zelensky said that Ukraine has managed to evacuate people from the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works, a massive factory in the port city of Mariupol, after many weeks of negotiations, attempts, and planning.
A ceasefire established between the Ukrainian and Russian sides has held for two days, the President noted, the first since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. 100 civilians have thus far been evacuated from the shelters underneath the steelworks, including women and children fleeing Russian shelling at the plant's shelters.
"Given all the difficulties of the process, the first evacuees will arrive in the city of Zaporizhzhya tomorrow morning," Zelensky said.
"Our team will meet them there. I hope all the necessary conditions will be met tomorrow to continue the evacuation of people from Mariupol. We're planning to start at 0800.”
He said that these evacuations have been achieved despite the difficulty of negotiating humanitarian corridors with Russia.
President Zelensky first announced the start of the Azovstal evacuation late on May 1. The facility has been subjected to constant shelling by the Russian invaders.
Russia continues to abduct Ukrainian civilians to its territory by force and deception.
In mid-April, Ukrainian Ombudswoman Liudmyla Denisova announced that over 700,000 people had been abducted from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, to Russia.