A large column of devastated Mariupol evacuees arrives in Zaporizhzhia

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A large column of evacuees from the ruined Ukrainian and Russian-occupied city of Mariupol arrived in Zaporizhzhia. According to Ukrainian authorities, around 500 to 1,000 vehicles are involved. This makes it the largest evacuation from Mariupol since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

After waiting three days, the convoy with residents of the southern port city of Mariupol received permission from the Russians on Saturday to proceed to the more northwestern city of Zaporizhzhia.

Mariupol is of strategic importance to Russia and was largely destroyed, among other things, by heavy bombardment. The Azovstal steelworks is the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in the port city. There are still the last Ukrainian soldiers to resist the Russians.

Occasional civilian evacuations have been taking place from Mariupol for two months now. Theft is often hampered by the Russian military.

The refugees arrived in Zaporizhzhia overnight from Saturday to Sunday. Nikolai Pavlov, 74, said he had been living in a basement for a month after his flat was destroyed. A relative managed to evacuate him by “secret detours”. “We did it with difficulty. We were with a lot of old people. The trip was exhausting, but it was worth it,” Pavlov told the news agency. Reuters

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