Ukrainian Deputy PM says no agreement made with Moscow to evacuate Azovstal plant in Mariupol

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, Iryna Vereshchuk, said no agreement has been reached to evacuate civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

"Today, the Russian side once again announced the existence of a corridor for civilians to leave Azovstal," Vereshchuk stated on Telegram. "This could be believed if the Russians had not broken the humanitarian corridors many times before. I know what I am saying because, on behalf of the president, I am personally conducting such negotiations and organizing humanitarian corridors. It is important to understand that the humanitarian corridor is opened by agreement of both sides. The corridor, announced unilaterally, does not provide security, and therefore, in fact, is not a humanitarian corridor."

Vereshchuk also noted on television that Kyiv is ready to do anything to open a humanitarian corridor to evacuate Ukrainian civilians and military personnel from the besieged Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

"We know that there is no food, no drinking water, at least no delivery of it there. There is actually no communication, no heating, no medical care, which is so necessary.”

The Azovstal steel plant, which is the last major bastion of Ukrainian defense in the destroyed city of Mariupol, is sheltering an estimated 1,000 Ukrainian civilians as well as 500 wounded Ukrainian servicemen.

On Monday, Russia Ministry of Defense offered to cease hostilities around the plant to allow civilians to leave “in any direction they choose”.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Russian forces had “liberated” Mariupol, but ordered his forces to besiege the Azovstal instead of storming it.

On Sunday, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted, "Orthodox Easter 2022. But right now, RF is continuously attacking the Mariupol Azovstal. The place where our civilians and military are located is shelled with heavy air bombs and artillery. RF accumulates forces and equipment for the assault. Who gave the order 'not to storm'?"

  Mariupol, Azovstal Plant