Car convoy leaves Ukrainian city of Mariupol surrounded – city officials

An aerial view shows smoke rising as an armored personnel carrier is shot down next to a building, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, in Maripuol, Ukraine, uploaded March 13, 2022, in this drone video obtained by Reuters on March 13, 2022 Azov Mariupol/Handout via REUTERS

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LVIV, Ukraine, March 14 (Reuters) – A convoy of more than 160 cars left Mariupol on Monday, local officials said, in what appears to be the first successful attempt to build a “humanitarian corridor” to evacuate civilians from the surrounded Ukrainian city.

Civilians have been trapped in the Black Sea port city for more than two weeks and lack supplies after being surrounded by Russian forces, according to Ukrainian authorities.

After several days of unsuccessful attempts to deliver supplies to Mariupol and provide safe passage for trapped civilians, the city council declared that a local ceasefire was in effect and the convoy departed for the town of Zaporizhzhia.

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“It is known that as of 13:00 (11:00 GMT), more than 160 private cars managed to leave,” he said in an online post.

He said the convoy had reached the nearby town of Berdiansk and was heading towards Zaporizhzhia.

“There is also confirmation that a ceasefire is currently in effect along the humanitarian corridor that has been established,” he added.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the progress of the convoy.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said earlier Monday that more than 2,500 residents of Mariupol had been killed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The city has about 400,000 inhabitants in peacetime.

Arestovych said he was citing city administration figures.

The toll could not be independently verified by Reuters. Russia says it does not target civilians.

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Reporting by Max Hunder, editing by Timothy Heritage

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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