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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsUkraine: Mariupol Evacuation Interrupted Again; Greek Consulate in Peril

Ukraine: Mariupol Evacuation Interrupted Again; Greek Consulate in Peril

Ukraine Mariupol
A bus burns as Russia invades Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, on a road from Kharkiv to Kyiv. Credit: Yan Boechat/VOA Public Domain

The evacuation of civilians from Mariupol, Ukraine on Sunday was interrupted again, as Russian forces continue to shell the city.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced that the second attempt to evacuate civilians had been curtailed once again, as the city is surrounded by the Russian army and its allies.

“In the midst of devastating scenes of human suffering in Mariupol, a second attempt today to begin evacuating some 200,000 people from the city has stalled,” the ICRC said in a statement.

The first attempt to evacuate, on Saturday, after the Russians announced a ceasefire between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm failed because Russian forces continued to bombard Mariupol within that time frame.

“It was not possible to evacuate” from Mariupol, Ukraine

“It was not possible to evacuate the civilians because of the Russian bombing,” Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boichenko said regarding Saturday’s attempt of civilians to leave the city safely:

“The bombing continued despite the ceasefire,” he added.

A convoy carrying civilians as part of what they had been told would be a safe evacuation could not leave the besieged city of Mariupol on Sunday as Russian forces continued bombing despite a temporary ceasefire agreement, local authorities said.

The Red Cross announced that this second attempt to evacuate the approximately 200,000 civilian residents of the city had also “stopped.”

Greek FM for the Consulate General

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias contacted the Ukrainian authorities asking for assistance for the safety of the Greek Consul General in Mariupol.

A Greek convoy of approximately 30 vehicles evacuating dozens of Greek expatriates, diplomats and journalists from Mariupol had made its way out of the country to Moldova on Friday.

Dendias communicated with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba asking for his assistance in assessing the safety of the Greek Consulate General and his staff.

He also asked Kuleba to create a humanitarian corridor for all civilians to leave the bombed out city.

Call to UN Secretary General

The Ukrainian foreign minister also called United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, urging for an immediate ceasefire so that civilians can evacuate.

Amin Awad, the United Nations Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine, called on Saturday for an “immediate humanitarian pause” in fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces, as UN aid supplies arrive in the country.

Awad is in Ukraine with his team attempting to coordinate humanitarian operations, with his immediate aim to “urgently prioritize geographical areas, and sectors, where there are pressing humanitarian needs to scale up the delivery of lifesaving aid.”

The UN Crisis Coordinator welcomed the outcome of the second round of talks between Ukraine and Russia on the ceasefire, and called for the “urgent translation of the letters of the agreement into action on the ground.”

Despite the continuous fighting in Mariupol and elsewhere in Ukraine, the UN is still attempting to provide relief to the millions of civilians who are trying to flee to safety.

James Elder, the spokesperson for UNICEF stated that “500,000 children have been forced to flee their homes in just seven days… (this is) unprecedented in scale and speed.”

Elder stressed that humanitarian needs across the country are “multiplying by the hour.”

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