Lviv, Ukraine, Mar 8 (EFE).- Russian troops were preventing the evacuation of civilians from the southeastern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine’s Joint Operation Forces said Tuesday.
Several buses and trucks loaded with humanitarian aid were headed to the city, which is strategically located on the Sea of Azov near the Russian border.
“To evacuate the civilians of Mariupol along a single route, the city’s defenders have taken a number of measures: cleared roads from mines, removed engineering fences, etc,” the Joint Operation Forces command said on its official Facebook account.
“However, the invaders did not let children, women, elderly people out of the city. The enemy started the attack exactly in the direction of the humanitarian corridor,” the statement said.
The command said that the “actions of Russian inhumans are nothing else than the genocide of the people of Ukraine. The crimes of the Kremlin occupants will not go unpunished!”
Earlier, the city mayor’s office announced on its official Telegram account that “humanitarian aid had left Zaporiyia for Mariupol.” The message was accompanied by a video showing yellow buses and a photograph of a transport truck.
Kirill Timoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, also confirmed on his Telegram account that “evacuation buses left Zaporiyia for Mariupol and humanitarian aid was also sent.”
Mariupol has been completely blockaded by Russian forces for more than a week and the mayor, Vadim Boychenko, has claimed on several occasions that the city — which has been left without electricity, heating and water due to constant shelling by the Russian Army — was on the verge of a “humanitarian catastrophe”. EFE