A Ukrainian official says a second attempt to evacuate civilians from a southern city under siege for a week has failed due to continued Russian shelling.
Most people in the port city of Mariupol are sleeping in bomb shelters to escape more than six days of near-constant bombardment by encircling Russian forces that has cut off food, water, power and heating supplies, according to the Ukrainian authorities.
Evacuations were scheduled to begin at noon local time during a 10am to 9pm local ceasefire, but Interior Ministry adviser, Anton Gerashchenko, said the planned evacuations along designated humanitarian corridors were halted because of an ongoing assault.
In response, Greece’s Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, said on Twitter that he has contacted his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, requesting authorities’ assistance in ensuring the safety of the Greek Consul General in Mariupol and in opening the humanitarian corridor for evacuation.
These halted evacuations come as Greece successfully completed Operations ‘Nostos 3’ and ‘Nostos 4’ over the weekend.
A convoy of around 30 vehicles evacuating dozens of Greek expatriates, diplomats and journalists from the war zone of Mariupol crossed into Moldova on Friday.
Meanwhile, another 25 people were evacuated from Odessa on Saturday and successfully crossed the borders between Ukraine and Moldova with the help of Consul General Dimitrios Dochtisis.
According to Greek police data, a total of 3,780 Ukrainian refugees, including 1,146 minors, have also arrived in Greece since the start of the Russian invasion.