Civilians Are Out of Mariupol Plant

Ukrainian forces push back Russians from Kharkiv
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2022 5:45 PM CDT
Civilians Are Out of Mariupol Plant
Members of the Tsybulchenko family have a meal with others after arriving Tuesday from Mariupol at a center for displaced people in Zaporizhzhia. The family was among the first to emerge from the steel plant during evacuations.   (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

(Newser) – "All women, children and elderly people" have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced Saturday, CNN reports. "This part of the Mariupol humanitarian operation has been completed," she said. Russia made the same announcement, per the BBC, but the UN and the Red Cross, which coordinated the evacuation, have not provided confirmation. Russia has laid siege to the plan for weeks while demanding the troops defending it surrender. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than 300 civilians had been evacuated, while Russia put the number at 51. Other developments include:

  • Russian fallback: Ukrainian forces are forcing Russian troops back near Kharkiv, an embarrassment for President Vladimir Putin with his nation's Victory Day holiday less than 48 hours away. Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, has been a major Russian target since the start of the invasion, per the New York Times; it's the closest big city to Russia and has a large Russian-speaking population. Ukrainian troops have taken back towns and villages around Kharkiv in the past few days, leading a military research group in Washington to predict the city will be in Ukrainian control again "in a matter of days."
  • Shelter bombing: A military official in the Luhansk region said a Russia aircraft bombed a school where 90 people had taken refuge, seven miles from the front lines. "Almost the entire village was hiding," the official said, "everyone who did not evacuate." Serhiy Hayday said 30 people had been rescued from the wreckage.
  • More evacuations: In his nightly address, Zelensky said preparation has begun for the second phase of the evacuation of the Azovstal plant, which will focus on getting "the wounded and medics" out. "Of course, if everyone fulfills the agreements," he said. "Of course, if there are no lies." The president said he still intends to evacuate the troops remaining—"all heroes who defend Mariupol."
  • G7 meeting: Zelensky is scheduled to meet virtually on Sunday morning with President Biden and other G7 leaders. Sanctions against Russia will be on the agenda, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council said.
(Read more Ukraine stories.)

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