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The first Ukrainians can finally flee the city of terror of Mariupol

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People take shelter from shelling inside the entrance of an apartment building in Mariupol (AP)

A 160-car convoy was able to escape from Mariupol on Monday, the first time a humanitarian corridor was successfully used to allow civilians to flee the city that has been surrounded and defeated by Russian forces, and became a grim symbol. of Ukraine’s suffering during the 19-day was.

The convoy was allowed to leave amid reports of horrific conditions in the Black Sea port city, where desperate residents are running out of food and medicine and forced to drink water from radiators.

Monday’s column of cars followed 10 days of failed attempts to rescue people who have come under relentless bombardment. It was a small ray of hope, but hundreds of thousands are still believed to be trapped in the city and some 2,500 residents are believed to have died.

“At one o’clock, the Russians opened a checkpoint and those with cars and fuel began to leave Mariupol in the direction of Zaporizhzhia,” Andrei Rempel of the Mariupol city hall.

“In the first two hours, 160 cars left. There are probably many more now. The city is still being bombed but this road is not being bombed. We don’t know when the first cars will arrive in Zaporizhzhia, as there are still many Russian checkpoints to pass.

But Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said later that Russia had once again blocked a humanitarian aid convoy trying to reach the city with supplies.

Obtaining safe passage for aid to reach Mariupol and for civilians to leave has been kyiv’s main demand in several rounds of peace talks, the fourth round of which took place on Monday. All previous attempts at a local ceasefire in the area have failed.

“The city is surrounded and civilians today cannot tell it apart,” said Robert Mardini, director general of the International Committee of the Red Cross. He said the plight of the city’s defeated civilians was “nothing short of a nightmare.”

Ukrainian military and firefighters stand in the area outside a maternity hospital damaged in a shelling attack in Mariupol (AP)

Ukrainian military and firefighters stand in the area outside a maternity hospital damaged in a shelling attack in Mariupol (AP)

Also on Monday, it was also reported that a pregnant woman whose image was shown around the world, sparking global outrage after she was photographed being carried from a bombed-out maternity hospital in Mariupol last week, had died.

Timur Marin, who treated the woman, said her pelvis had been crushed and her hip had been dislodged during the airstrike on the hospital where she was due to give birth.

Doctors said she screamed “kill me now” when she realized she was losing her baby. A surgeon confirmed that both the child and the mother had died over the weekend.

Drone video footage released by Ukrainian forces in Mariupol showed a desolate wasteland of bombed-out buildings, many on fire, with smoke billowing into the sky.

Maksim Korovii, 18, holds his guitar in front of his destroyed apartment building (AFP/Getty)

Maksim Korovii, 18, holds his guitar in front of his destroyed apartment building (AFP/Getty)

Elsewhere, Russia continued its assaults on other cities.

kyiv was hit by heavy artillery attacks fired by Russian forces as they continued their gradual advance towards the capital.

A nine-story apartment building was attacked and one person was killed, according to Ukraine’s emergency services. During the day there were more strikes.

Ukrainian television footage showed firefighters climbing through the rubble and entering what was left of a burning apartment block in the Obolon district of kyiv.

One resident, Maksim Korovii, said he hid in a closet after his mother woke him up.

“We thought we were being captured, that the Russians were coming through the door. But we were wrong. We left the apartment and saw that the staircase was gone, everything was on fire,” he said, before escaping with a guitar.

“We managed to put on the clothes we had on hand and we made our way from balcony to balcony and eventually down the driveway of the next building.”

The attacks on the capital came as peace talks resumed via videoconference. Ukraine’s presidential adviser and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that a fourth round of talks had begun, though it was unclear whether there was reason for optimism.

“Communication is being held back, but it is difficult. The reason for the discord is too different political systems,” Podolyak tweeted.

Ukraine was seeking a ceasefire, the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops and security guarantees after previous talks ended with a focus on humanitarian corridors and ceasefires.

The talks will resume on Tuesday.

Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky posted on social media that Russia was sticking to its key goals: “Our goal is to do everything possible to achieve the goals set by Vladimir Putin, for the peaceful future of Russia.”

The pregnant woman pictured being carried from a bombed-out maternity hospital in Mariupol last week was confirmed dead, along with her baby (AP)

The pregnant woman pictured being carried from a bombed-out maternity hospital in Mariupol last week was confirmed dead, along with her baby (AP)

Russia says it is conducting a “special operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and the Western allies call this a baseless pretext for a war of aggression.

Elsewhere, airstrikes were reported in the southern city of Mykolaiv and the northern city of Chernihiv. Explosions also echoed overnight around the Russian-occupied Black Sea port of Kherson.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s grid operator says a high-voltage power line to the Chernobyl nuclear plant had been damaged by Russian forces, hours after electricity supply to the facility was restored. There were also reports that Russian forces set off explosives at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

In Moscow, Russia denied asking China for help with military equipment, despite US claims.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia could take full control of major Ukrainian cities without Chinese help or military assistance.

“Russia has its own independent potential to continue the operation,” Peskov said. “As we said, it is going according to plan and will be completed on time and in full.”

China also denied the claim.

An elderly woman leans on her walker in front of an apartment building destroyed after shelling in the northwestern district of Obolon in kyiv (AFP/Getty)

An elderly woman leans on her walker in front of an apartment building destroyed after shelling in the northwestern district of Obolon in kyiv (AFP/Getty)

More than 2.8 million people have now crossed into Poland and other neighboring countries in what the UN refugee agency has called Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

France said EU member states have agreed on a fourth package of sanctions against Russia.

Details were not officially disclosed, but diplomatic sources said they would include an import ban on Russian iron and steel, an export ban on luxury goods and an investment ban in the energy sector. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and 14 others would be added to the EU blacklist.

Additional Agency Reports

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, first running our Welcome Refugees campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the development of the Ukrainian conflict crisis, we call on the government to go further and faster to ensure that aid is delivered. To find out more about our Welcome Refugees campaign, Click here. To sign the petition Click here. If you want to donate, please Click here for our GoFundMe page.


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