The evacuation of civilians from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol was interrupted by Ukrainian nationalists who mortar shelled the gathering location of evacuation from the Azovstal steel plant territory, DPR People’s spokesman Eduard Basurin said on Saturday.
Earlier on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk said that Ukrainian authorities are planning to evacuate today, Saturday, women, children, and the elderly from Mariupol. She said on Telegram: “About Mariupol: today we are again trying to evacuate women, children, and the elderly. Now we are beginning to gather at the ringway near the Port City Mall. If everything goes according to plan, at about 12.00 we will start the evacuation.”
Basurin was quoted by the DPR People’s Militia as saying on Telegram: “At the request of Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister I. Vereshchuk, Russia organized a humanitarian corridor and provided transport for the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol today. This peaceful action was interrupted by Ukrainian nationalists, who opened fire with mortars from the Azovstal plant on the announced gathering place for citizens.
“This provocation proves the fact that nationalists are willing to sacrifice their fellow citizens just to discredit the humanitarian efforts being undertaken by the Russian side. It is possible that the blame for the numerous civilian casualties would have been put on Russia and its armed forces if that this inhumane action had succeeded.” He noted that the Russian military succeeded in avoiding civilian casualties and was able to get all the people out of the shelled area. During the shelling, one Russian soldier was injured.