An evacuation of the city of Mariupol, Ukraine, is currently underway after multiple failed prior ceasefires amid the Russian invasion.
Ukrainian authorities have been trying to secure a ceasefire that would allow for the safe operation of a humanitarian corridor, according to an adviser to Mariupol’s mayor.
Petro Andrushenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, said in a Monday post on Facebook that, as of 1 p.m. local time, a ceasefire was being observed along a corridor leading out of the city towards Zaporizhia.
“Let’s help everyone out!” he wrote while cautioning that local Ukrainian authorities are unable to officially guarantee safety down the corridor.
“Call, write to everyone whom you reach!”
Still, he said that the evacuation route was operational and that residents are able to leave using their own modes of transport.
He said around 160 vehicles had already managed to depart Mariupol via the corridor.
The Mariupol City Council was cited by Interfax Ukraine as saying that a number of evacuees had already passed Berdyansk and were continuing to move in the direction of Zaporizhia.
“There is also confirmation that currently a ceasefire is being observed along the established humanitarian corridor,” the city council said in a statement, according to Interfax.
The Red Cross earlier called for an urgent ceasefire to be implemented in Mariupol to prevent a “worst-case scenario.”
The ICRC said in a statement Sunday that, “a worst-case scenario awaits the hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped by heavy combat in Mariupol unless the parties reach a concrete humanitarian agreement urgently.”
Mariupol has seen heavy Russian shelling in recent days, with Ukrainian authorities saying 2,500 people in the city have been killed.
Ukrainian officials said that three people were killed in an attack on a Mariupol hospital last week.
Andrushenko told Reuters last week that a steady barrage of Russian shelling of Mariupol had prevented prior efforts at evacuation.
The bombardment had continued “without any gaps, without any pause,” hitting houses and buildings along the evacuation routes, Andrushenko said.
“They want to absolutely delete our city, delete our people. They want to stop any evacuation,” he added.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych has said Russia was deliberately preventing the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol because it had failed to seize the strategically important city.
Control of Mariupol would allow Russia to connect pro-Moscow enclaves in the east and Russian-annexed Crimea to the south.
Russia has denied targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure, despite emerging reports otherwise.
Moscow claims its military actions in Ukraine are a “special military operation” meant to disarm its military and oust the country’s political leaders, whom the Kremlin claims are dangerous nationalists.
Ukraine and its Western allies call the Russian invasion a groundless act of aggression.