Ukrainian steel plant evacuations spark new optimism — and cause for concern


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A ray of hope emerges from the besieged Azovstal Steel Works plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.

The first 100 of about 1,000 civilians, mostly women and children, have been evacuated from the sprawling factory where citizens have been hiding from Russian attacks since the war began two months ago. They should arrive in Zaporizhzhia, about 220 km northwest of the city.

The civilian evacuation operation is coordinated by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. It comes after the factory suffered weeks of attacks by Russian forces, killing an unknown number of people and injuring at least 600. The injured were being treated by small medical personnel, with some victims suffering from gangrene and other life-threatening illnesses. conditions due to inability to provide advanced medical care.


Fox News has obtained video taken by the Azov Battalion that shows the families locked together in cramped rooms, bedding and clothing strewn in the basement amid the rubble. They ask for help.

“We just don’t understand, what is the whole world doing?” a woman pleaded. “Are they just watching Mariupol being murdered and crucified?

Another looked at the camera and said emotionally, “I’m begging everyone, please help us, help us escape,” before bursting into tears.

A destroyed tank and a damaged building are seen in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 26.

A destroyed tank and a damaged building are seen in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 26.
(AP/Alexei Alexandrov)

Another woman noted that due to Russian attacks they have not emerged since entering the complex in February. She imagined hearing “the birds sing”.

The videos showed squalid living conditions, with those trapped living in underground bunkers built to protect factory workers from a possible nuclear attack. The complex is built six stories underground. Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko called the conditions “worse than hell”.

“The Russians are waging war on innocent people. It’s a military objective that they gave to their commanders, and it’s absolutely outrageous,” said retired US Army four-star General Jack Keane, former vice president of the Army and president of the Institute for the Study of War, told Fox News.


There are also fears that Russian forces will capture and kill the 1,000 or more Ukrainian fighters once the civilians are evacuated.

“The Russians, if they try to get out, will kill them,” Keane said.

He predicted that the carnage in Mariupol would turn out “on a scale of tens of thousands” and that the world would be further exposed to the genocide committed by Vladimir Putin.

Boychenko said that in the past two months Putin has killed twice as many citizens of his city as Adolf Hitler in two years during World War II.

“In two years, the Nazis killed 10,000 civilians in Mariupol. The Russian occupiers killed more than 20,000 Mariupol residents in two months. More than 40,000 people were forcibly deported…this is one of the worst genocides of civilians in modern history,” Boychenko said on Telegram last weekend.

Keane said President Biden must boycott the upcoming G-20 summit in Indonesia that Putin is expected to attend. “There is no going back to a normal relationship with Putin after the war in Ukraine, given what he did.”


The New YorkAccording to the humanitarian group based in Razom For Ukraine, the killing of civilians in Mariupol shows that “this is not just a Russian military operation, but a planned genocide of the Ukrainian people”.

Razom raised funds to provide medical and humanitarian supplies and launched the #armukrainenow social media campaign. The group says Putin’s plan is simply to eradicate the Ukrainian people and that the war strategy on display in Mariupol and the steel mill exposes his human rights abuses and war crimes.


“War crimes will continue,” warned Razom For Ukraine. “Let’s defend freedom and save lives.”

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