LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) -A convoy of over 160 cars left Mariupol on Monday, local officials said, in what appeared to be the first successful attempt to arrange a “humanitarian corridor” to evacuate civilians from the encircled Ukrainian city.
Civilians have been trapped in the Black Sea port city for more than two weeks and are running out of supplies after being surrounded by Russian forces, the Ukrainian authorities say.
After several days of failed attempts to deliver supplies to Mariupol and provide safe passage out for trapped civilians, the city council said a local ceasefire was holding and the convoy had left for the city of Zaporizhzhia.
“It is known that as of 1300 (1100 GMT) more than 160 private cars managed to leave,” it said in an online post.
It said the convoy had reached the nearby city of Berdyansk and was heading on towards Zaporizhzhia.
“There is also confirmation that a ceasefire is currently holding along the humanitarian corridor that has been established,” it said.
Reuters was unable immediately to verify the convoy’s progress.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said earlier on Monday that more than 2,500 residents of Mariupol have been killed since Russian invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. The city has a peacetime population of about 400,000.
Arestovych said he was citing figures from the city administration.
The toll could not be independently verified by Reuters. Russia says it does not target civilians.
(Reporting by Max Hunder, Editing by Timothy Heritage)