(Reuters) -A convoy of buses left Mariupol on Wednesday in a new attempt by Ukraine, the U.N. and the International Committee of the Red Cross to evacuate civilians from the southern Ukrainian city, the regional governor said.
The convoy was heading for the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
He did not say how many buses were in the convoy or whether any more civilians had been evacuated from a vast steel works in Mariupol where the city’s last defenders are holding out against Russian forces that have occupied Mariupol.
Dozens of evacuees who took refuge for weeks in the bunkers of the Azovstal steel works reached the safety of Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday, but aid workers said many still remained trapped in the port city.
“The buses have already left Mariupol,” Kyrylenko said on the Telegram messaging app. “Pass the information to those who need it!”
The sprawling Azovstal industrial complex and its bunkers and tunnels became a refuge for both civilians and Ukrainian fighters as Moscow laid siege to Mariupol, a strategic city on the Sea of Azov.
Mariupol’s mayor said on Tuesday that more than 200 civilians remained in the Azovstal plant, with a total of 100,000 civilians still in the city that has been devastated by weeks of Russian siege and shelling.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets, Editing by Timothy Heritage)