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Ukraine's Zelenskiy Says 156 People Evacuated From Azovstal Steel Plant

INTERNATIONAL: Some 156 evacuees from the ruins of Mariupol's Azovstal steel works reached the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday 3rd May 3 after cowering in underground bunkers from Russian shelling for weeks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

In his address to nation, Zelenskiy accused Russia of breaching agreements to pause fighting long enough to allow vulnerable civilians to be moved to safety.

Nearly 10 weeks into a war that has killed thousands, destroyed cities and driven 5 million Ukrainians to flee abroad, Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the economic stakes for Kyiv's Western backers on Tuesday by announcing plans to block the export of vital Russian raw materials.

Mariupol, a city of 400,000 before Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24, has seen the bloodiest fighting of the war, enduring weeks of siege and shelling.

The head of the Red Cross in Ukraine said on Tuesday 3rd of May that an unknown number of civilians remained trapped in Mariupol and surrounding areas after it evacuated more than 100 civilians from the Azovstal plant.

"How many people are left behind? I don’t know. I simply don’t know. I would assume that there were others because I was not told that they have taken all of them," Pascal Hundt from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told journalists by Zoom.

Hundt added that there were some who did not want to board the bus.

"I can confirm that some of the people who went out of Azovstal did not want to come with us on the convoy. I don’t have the figure but some, a few, clearly expressed in front of us that they didn’t want to board the bus," he said.

He also expressed concern about signs that intense fighting had resumed in and around the plant but said the ICRC would continue to press for access to the remaining civilians.

Dozens of evacuees who took refuge for weeks in the bunkers of a steel works in Russian-occupied Mariupol reached the safety of Kyiv-controlled Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday.

Mariupol's sprawling Azovstal industrial complex and its bunkers and tunnels became a refuge for both civilians and Ukrainian fighters as Moscow laid siege to the city on the Sea of Azov.

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