«At least a thousand “Ukrainian fightersamong which “hundreds injured», Are still in Azofstal steel industry which is besieged by Russian troops in Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Veresuk told AFP today.
“After the evacuation of all civilians last week with the help of the UN,” at least a thousand “fighters, including” hundreds of wounded “, remain in the underground galleries of this huge metallurgical complex, the telephone told AFP. Irina Veresuk.
«There are seriously injured people who should be urgently removed“, Clarified and added that”the situation is deteriorating day by dayIn this steel industry, which is the last pocket of resistance of the Ukrainian forces against the Russian army in the destroyed Mariupol, on the shores of the Sea of Azov.
THE Veresuk also denied the information given by two regional officials according to which civilians are still in the steel industry.
“It is not true,” he said, adding that the Azov Battalion chief, who has been fortified in the steel industry, had officially told Ukrainian government officials and a UN spokesman that “No civilians, women, children or the elderly remain in Azovstal».
The mayor of Mariupol Vadim Boichenko for his part refused to say whether it is “100% sure » that all civilians have been evacuated from Azofstal, stressing that “it is not possible»To be verified while it does not exist a sustainable ceasefire in the field.
«The situation was and remains very difficultHe added in an online press conference, saying that “very fierce battlesWere repeated in Azofstal at the end of the evacuations.
The Ukrainian authorities “they workhereinafter referred to as the possibility of removing soldiers injured, medical personnel and military priests of the steel industry, while hoping for help from international organizations and Turkey, Veresuk said.
«The medical staff wants to leave with the injured, because he has to accompany them»In case one opens«humanitarian corridor ” from the steel industry, he added.
As he said, such a business can “last at least a week»Given the number of injured to be«to be transported by stretchers».
As Azovstal’s military has repeatedly called on the Turkish president for help Recep Tayyip ErdoganVeresuk underlined that the “Turkey works closely with Kyiv».
«They really want to help“, Assessed the official, clarifying that such a removal could be done by sea with a Turkish boat equipped with a military hospital.
«We want it very much and the Turks are ready“, But Kyiv seeks to ensure”guarantees that Russia will not start firing“During the evacuation,” said Veresuk.
“Absolute guarantees are needed in writing, this is what we are trying to ensure”he said.
On Saturday, Kyiv announced that all civilian women, all children and the elderly had been evacuated from Azovstal during a UN-sponsored operation that lasted almost a week.