Evacuation of civilians from Ukrainian steel plant begins | AP News

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  3 weeks ago  •  15 comments

By:   AP NEWS

Evacuation of civilians from Ukrainian steel plant begins | AP News
ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — After nearly two months of siege, civilians holed up at a steel plant in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol began to be evacuated over the weekend, and people sheltering elsewhere in the city were to be allowed out on Monday, local officials said.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — After nearly two months of siege, civilians holed up at a steel plant in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol began to be evacuated over the weekend, and people sheltering elsewhere in the city were to be allowed out on Monday, local officials said.

Video posted online Sunday by Ukrainian forces showed elderly women and mothers with small children climbing over a steep pile of debris out of the sprawling Azovstal steel plant's rubble and eventually boarding a bus.

More than 100 civilians were expected to arrive in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday.

"Today, for the first time in all the days of the war, this vitally needed (humanitarian) corridor has started working," Zelenskyy said in a pre-recorded address published on his Telegram messaging channel.

There were worries about the safety of evacuees. People fleeing Russian-occupied areas in the past have described their vehicles being fired on, and Ukrainian officials have repeatedly accused Russian forces of shelling agreed-upon evacuation routes.

A Ukrainian defender of the steel plant urged groups like the U.N. and the Red Cross to ensure the safety of those being evacuated. Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov Regiment, told The Associated Press in an interview that there should be guarantees from "a third party -- politicians, world leaders -- who will cooperate to negotiate with Russians to extract us from here."

Another of the plant's defenders said Russian forces resumed shelling the plant Sunday as soon as the evacuation of a group of civilians was completed.

Denys Shlega, commander of the 12th Operational Brigade of Ukraine's National Guard, said in a televised interview Sunday night that several hundred civilians remain trapped alongside nearly 500 wounded soldiers and "numerous" dead bodies.

"Several dozen small children are still in the bunkers underneath the plant," Shlega said.

As many as 100,000 people may still be in Mariupol, including an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters beneath the sprawling, Soviet-era steel plant — the only part of the city not occupied by the Russians.

Mariupol, a port city on the Sea of Azov, has seen some of the worst suffering. A maternity hospital was hit in a Russian airstrike in the opening weeks of the war, and hundreds of people were reported killed in the bombing of a theater.

The city is a key target because of its strategic location near the Crimea Peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Palamar, the Ukrainian commander, told the AP on Sunday that it has been difficult even to reach some of the wounded in the steel plant.

"There's rubble. We have no special equipment. It's hard for soldiers to pick up slabs weighing tons only with their arms," he said. "We hear voices of people who are still alive" inside shattered buildings.

U.N. humanitarian spokesman Saviano Abreu said civilians arriving in Zaporizhzhia, about 140 miles (230 kilometers) northwest of Mariupol, would receive immediate humanitarian support, including psychological services. A Doctors Without Borders team was at a reception center for displaced people in Zaporizhzhia, in preparation for the U.N. convoy's arrival.

Palamar called for the evacuation of wounded Ukrainian fighters as well as civilians.

"We don't know why they are not taken away, and their evacuation to the territory controlled by Ukraine is not being discussed," he said in a video posted Saturday on the regiment's Telegram channel.

Along with his Azov regiment, Palamar said, the plant is being defended by marines, police officers, border guards, coast guard and more. He said the bodies of dead Ukrainian fighters remain inside the plant. "Because we believe we will be able to move them to Ukrainian government-controlled territory. We have to do everything to bury heroes with honors."

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other U.S. lawmakers visited Zelenskyy on Saturday to show American support for Ukraine's defense against Russia's invasion. She is the most senior American lawmaker to travel to the country since Russia's Feb. 24 invasion.

In his nightly address Sunday, Zelenskyy accused Moscow of waging "a war of extermination," saying Russian shelling had hit food, grain and fertilizer warehouses, and residential neighborhoods in the Kharkiv, Donbas and other regions.

He also said more than 350,000 people have been evacuated during the war from combat zones thanks to humanitarian corridors pre-agreed with Moscow. "The organization of humanitarian corridors is one of the elements of the negotiation process which is ongoing," he said.

In Zaporizhzhia, residents ignored air raid sirens to visit cemeteries Sunday, when Ukrainians observed the Orthodox Christian day of the dead.

"If our dead could rise and see this, they would say, 'It's not possible, they're worse than the Germans,'" Hennadiy Bondarenko, 61, said while marking the day with his family at a picnic table among the graves. "All our dead would join the fighting, including the Cossacks."

Russian forces embarked on a major military operation to seize significant parts of southern and eastern Ukraine after their failure to capture the capital, Kyiv. Their offensive has been met by Ukrainian forces fighting village-by-village, and civilians fleeing airstrikes and artillery shelling.

Ukrainian intelligence officials accused Russian forces of seizing medical facilities to treat wounded Russian soldiers in several occupied towns, as well as destroying medical infrastructure.

Getting a full picture of the unfolding battle in eastern Ukraine is difficult because the fighting has made it dangerous for reporters to move around, and both sides have introduced tight restrictions on reporting from the combat zone.

But Western military analysts have suggested the Russian offensive was going much slower than planned. So far, Russian troops and Russian-backed separatists appear to have made only minor gains in the month since the eastern offensive began.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance has flowed into Ukraine during the war, but Russia's vast armories mean Ukraine will continue to require huge amounts of support. With plenty of firepower still in reserve, Russia's offensive could intensify. Overall, the Russian army has an estimated 900,000 active-duty personnel, and a much larger air force and navy.

Meanwhile, recent weeks have seen a number of fires and explosions in Russian regions near the border. On Sunday, an explosive device damaged a railway bridge in the Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, and a criminal investigation has been started, the region's government reported.

___

Fisch reported from Sloviansk. Associated Press journalists Jon Gambrell and Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Mstyslav Chernov in Kharkiv, and AP staff around the world contributed to this report.

___


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Hallux
Sophomore Principal
1  Hallux    3 weeks ago

               "a criminal investigation has been started"

Oh good, all the 'unusual' suspects will be lined up.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
2  Nerm_L    3 weeks ago

Well, its about time.  

Another day, another tidbit that's glossed over.  Zelensky has said that 350,000 Ukrainians have been evacuated from combat zones through humanitarian corridors negotiated with Russia.  So, now we know that evacuating Ukrainians from Mariupol has been possible before this.  And we don't know if Russia has been evacuating people, too.

The only reason people are still trapped at the Azovstal steel plant is because a small number of Ukrainian fighters refuse to surrender.  And we don't know if those fighters are Ukrainian military or a paramilitary group recognized by the Kyiv government.  It seems that Zelensky negotiating the surrender of that small besieged force could open more humanitarian corridors.  Or perhaps the besieged force would refuse to follow orders.  In this one instance it appears that Ukrainian obstinance is hindering humanitarian efforts.  What is the priority for the Azovstal steel plant?

Russia should be trying to bring supplies into Mariupol, too.  We haven't a clue if that attempt has been made or not.  Mariupol is a port city so it shouldn't be that difficult to bring supplies in and take people out.  Russia will obviously want the docks operational so they can resupply their own forces.  Turkey should be able to get Red Cross or Red Crescent ships in and out of Mariupol.  Israel could probably do the same.  Russia could allow safe passage for marked ships between Mariupol and Odessa.  But it seems no one is interested in trying to facilitate those efforts.  Burned out tanks are more important than humanitarian efforts.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
2.1  Ronin2  replied to  Nerm_L @2    3 weeks ago

From the article.

Along with his Azov regiment, Palamar said, the plant is being defended by marines, police officers, border guards, coast guard and more. He said the bodies of dead Ukrainian fighters remain inside the plant. "Because we believe we will be able to move them to Ukrainian government-controlled territory. We have to do everything to bury heroes with honors."

If Azov is holding the steel plant; then for sure they are never going to surrender. Also, the Russian separatists sure as hell aren't going to let them leave. These two factions have been fighting since the start. There is absolutely no love lost there. Guess Azov is content taking down civilians and wounded soldiers with them rather than surrender. 

Palamar , deputy  commander  of the  Azov  Regiment, didn't sound like he was going to order them to surrender any time soon either. Funny how a deputy commander of a neo Nazi militia is speaking as if he is in charge; rather than the Ukrainian government.

 Palamar called for the evacuation of wounded Ukrainian fighters as well as civilians. "We don't know why they are not taken away, and their evacuation to the territory controlled by Ukraine is not being discussed," he said in a video posted Saturday on the regiment's Telegram channel.

Sure he doesn't. jrSmiley_78_smiley_image.gif

Zelensky isn't in charge of his Neo Nazi and far right fascist militias; and Putin isn't in charge of the Russian separatists. Both can do all the talking they want; but until the leaders of those factions give the word nothing is going to get done.

As for the supplies getting into Ukraine port; Turkey has shut down entrance to the Black Sea to all combatant ships. So even if Russia wanted to bring in supplies Turkey will not let their ships through. It is going to take 3rd party neutral countries to bring in supplies/humanitarian aid. There are so few unaligned countries at this point. Russia will not trust any US/NATO; European; or US allied country ship entering; and the US/NATO will not trust any Chinese; Iranian; North Korean; etc ship.

"If our dead could rise and see this, they would say, 'It's not possible, they're worse than the Germans,'" Hennadiy Bondarenko, 61, said while marking the day with his family at a picnic table among the graves. "All our dead would join the fighting, including the Cossacks."

Says someone who wasn't even alive when the Germans were killing Ukrainians in record numbers. Also, "All our dead would join the fighting, including the Cossacks". I am sure he is right; but whose side would they join? A good majority of them really, really, really, hated the Nazis. Wouldn't bode well for Ukraine's Nazi and Fascist militias.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
2.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Ronin2 @2.1    3 weeks ago
If Azov is holding the steel plant; then for sure they are never going to surrender. Also, the Russian separatists sure as hell aren't going to let them leave. These two factions have been fighting since the start. There is absolutely no love lost there. Guess Azov is content taking down civilians and wounded soldiers with them rather than surrender.  Palamar , deputy  commander  of the  Azov  Regiment, didn't sound like he was going to order them to surrender any time soon either. Funny how a deputy commander of a neo Nazi militia is speaking as if he is in charge; rather than the Ukrainian government.

I've asked 'how do we know who is doing what in Ukraine?'  And I've pointed out that the Kyiv government and the Russian forces may not have control over fighting in Ukraine.  The Russian invasion is overlain onto an ethnic war inside Ukraine that has been going on for eight years.  But I was called a Putin stooge by the 'Slava Ukraini' flag wavers.  

And I've posted information (from reliable sources) that the neo-Nazis in Ukraine have established their own pseudo-government within the Kyiv government.  No one seems to care as long as they're entertained by burning tanks.  The Bidenista refuse to recognize that what is happening is far more complex than it seems and that Biden has only screwed up Ukraine worse than it was.

As for the supplies getting into Ukraine port; Turkey has shut down entrance to the Black Sea to all combatant ships. So even if Russia wanted to bring in supplies Turkey will not let their ships through. It is going to take 3rd party neutral countries to bring in supplies/humanitarian aid. There are so few unaligned countries at this point. Russia will not trust any US/NATO; European; or US allied country ship entering; and the US/NATO will not trust any Chinese; Iranian; North Korean; etc ship.

Russia has the port of Novorossiysk at the eastern end of the Black Sea.  Novorossiysk also has shipyards and a military harbor.  But the location of Novorossiysk should indicate why Crimea is important to Russia.  Russia doesn't need to pass through the Bosporus narrows controlled by Turkey to get supplies to any of the Ukrainian ports.  Russia has the means and ability to get humanitarian supplies into Mariupol if the approaches haven't been mined.  And Russia should be doing that.  But we don't know if Russia has made the effort or not. 

Says someone who wasn't even alive when the Germans were killing Ukrainians in record numbers. Also, "All our dead would join the fighting, including the Cossacks". I am sure he is right; but whose side would they join? A good majority of them really, really, really, hated the Nazis. Wouldn't bode well for Ukraine's Nazi and Fascist militias.

That also ignores the scorched earth retreat by Ukrainian Soviets ahead of the German invasion.  Ukrainians destroyed Ukraine to deny the Germans anything of value.  

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
2.1.2  Hallux  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1.1    3 weeks ago
Ukrainians destroyed Ukraine to deny the Germans anything of value. 

As ordered to do so by Stalin.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
2.1.3  Nerm_L  replied to  Hallux @2.1.2    3 weeks ago
As ordered to do so by Stalin. 

The link explains that the scorched earth retreat was done by Ukrainian Soviets and not by Russians in Ukraine or by invading Germans.  The link also tells us that Ukrainians were fighting each other over Ukrainian independence during the German occupation; another war within a war.  The Nazi occupation couldn't even unify Ukrainians.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
2.1.4  Ronin2  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1.1    3 weeks ago
That also ignores the scorched earth retreat by Ukrainian Soviets ahead of the German invasion.  Ukrainians destroyed Ukraine to deny the Germans anything of value.  

That Stalin guy was really wonderful. Starved his own people so long as it hurt the Germans as well. But it worked; which is the reason that he isn't looked on as a bigger mass murderer than he already is.

 
 
 
zuksam
Junior Silent
2.1.5  zuksam  replied to  Ronin2 @2.1.4    3 weeks ago

That's also how Russia defeated Napoleon, burn and retreat and let the winter win the war.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
2.1.6  Nerm_L  replied to  Ronin2 @2.1.4    3 weeks ago
That Stalin guy was really wonderful. Starved his own people so long as it hurt the Germans as well. But it worked; which is the reason that he isn't looked on as a bigger mass murderer than he already is.

Yep, Uncle Joe was a real piece of work.  But Stalin was anti-Fascist and that excuses everything.  Joseph Stalin was more antifa than antifa.  What a wonderful idea.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.7  Kavika   replied to  Ronin2 @2.1    3 weeks ago

War makes strange bedfellows, doesn't it? 

Both Russia and China were US allies in WWII. Two of the biggest mass murders in world history and that's just for starters.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
2.1.8  Ronin2  replied to  Kavika @2.1.7    3 weeks ago

Even more scary when history repeats itself; as both are allies again- except this time against the US/NATO and allies.

Russia would be really scary if they ever learned how to fight a real war. You would think they would have learned after watching the US/NATO against Serbia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.  Don't bother inserting troops just control the skies and destroy everything of value.  We don't fuck things up until we insert ground troops. Then everything gets messy.

Imagine if Russia had concentrated on controlling the skies from day one in Ukraine; and used satellite and drone recon to target every last radar; air defense; barracks; and arms depot in Ukraine; and then started on their infrastructure? No trains, no roads, no planes. No way to get anything in or out. Far less Russian casualties; and Ukraine would be suing for peace by now. 

Fortunately Russia seems to like incompetent leaders that say what Putin wants to hear; and ignore modern military tactics.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.9  Kavika   replied to  Ronin2 @2.1.8    3 weeks ago

What this war has proven is that Russia still fights wars like they always have. No concern for casualties the opponent or their own. The combined command structure is nonexistent and their equipment is overblown and outdated in many instances. 

The tanks T 82 thru T 80 are bingo machines. They switched to a 3-man crew and autoloader the problem with that is that their ammo is not separated from the crew. The reason you see so many Russian tanks with the turrerts blow off is that when they are hit the ammo explodes and you get the Jack in the Box destruction.

I believe that their AF is overrated as well. The Ukrainians still have not allowed them full control of the air. They are using a combo of air defense systems (S300) anti-aircraft missiles and a tiny air force that is using fighters that are really not a match for the Russian fighters yet they have stopped the Russians in their tracks when it comes to the skies. 

When you compare the tanks that the US/NATO and other countries are using you can see that their armor battalions would not stand a chance against us. 

Probably the main difference is that the Ukrainians use a western doctrine in their military vs the old Russian model of top-down. That the courage of their fighters and their Territorial Defense (civilians) plus they are defending their homeland makes for a very tough military.

If you check the Russian Army has not fought a war in the last few decades that was against a sizable, tough and well-trained military. They lost the 1st Chechnyan war, they got their nose bloodied by the Georgians. Syrian really didn't have any military to speak of. The military history of Russia isn't all that powerful. 

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
2.2  Hallux  replied to  Nerm_L @2    3 weeks ago
What is the priority for the Azovstal steel plant?

After 60 days of renovations, to be demolished.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
2.2.1  Ronin2  replied to  Hallux @2.2    3 weeks ago

Is that what Putin is calling his mortar and siege attack now of the steel mill- renovating?

It will be demolished by the separatists going in to take it; or Azov once they leave. Either way it will be damaged beyond repair.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3  Sean Treacy    3 weeks ago

I'm surprised this seems to be proceeding as hoped. Russia has granted these sort of humanitarian corridors before only to  open fire on them.  One can only imagine what the Ukrainians have suffered these past months.  

 
 

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