“Time is running out to help these people. This evacuation is hugely important,” said Alyona Synenko, a spokesperson for the ICRC. “It is essential we get concrete and precise agreements from both sides on times and routes tomorrow. These instructions need to be conveyed to military units on the ground and they must be respected.

Ukraine has launched a fresh attempt to rescue civilians from Mariupol after warnings from the Red Cross that thousands of lives depend on the successful evacuation of people trapped in the besieged city by Russian forces, the Guardian reports.

A total of 45 buses were en route to the nearby southern coastal town of Berdyansk, Ukrainian deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, as well as a team delivering humanitarian aid and assisting evacuations from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The convoy was expected to enter the city on Friday morning after Russian promises of a limited ceasefire along the route from Mariupol to the Ukraine-held city of Zaporizhzhia.

Repeated efforts at setting up humanitarian corridors to evacuate up to 170,000 people who remain in Mariupol, which has suffered four weeks of bombardment and dwindling supplies, have failed. Ukraine has accused Russian forces of shelling supposed safe routes out of several fighting hotspots, claims that Moscow denies.

“Time is running out to help these people. This evacuation is hugely important,” said Alyona Synenko, a spokesperson for the ICRC. “It is essential we get concrete and precise agreements from both sides on times and routes tomorrow. These instructions need to be conveyed to military units on the ground and they must be respected.

Read more

© Copyright LaPresse