Red Cross trying again to escort evacuation convoy out of Ukraine's Mariupol

Red Cross trying again to escort evacuation convoy out of Ukraine
# 02 April 2022 22:51 (UTC +04:00)

The Red Cross was renewing efforts to evacuate civilians in a convoy from the besieged port of Mariupol on Saturday as Russian forces looked to be regrouping for fresh attacks in southeast Ukraine, APA reports citing Reuters.

Encircled since the early days of Russia's five-week old invasion, Mariupol has been Moscow's main target in Ukraine's southeastern region of Donbas. Tens of thousands of civilians are trapped there with scant access to food and water.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sent a team on Friday to lead a convoy of about 54 Ukrainian buses and other private vehicles out of the city, but they turned back, saying they were unable to proceed

"They will try again on Saturday to facilitate the safe passage of civilians," the ICRC said in a statement on Friday. A previous Red Cross evacuation attempt in early March failed.

Russia and Ukraine have agreed to establish various humanitarian corridors during the war to allow the evacuation of civilians from cities, and have traded blame when evacuations failed.

People who have managed to get out of Mariupol and through Russian lines to reach the city of Zaporizhzhia described their journey as an ordeal during which Russian soldiers repeatedly stopped them to check for the presence of Ukrainian fighters.

"They stripped the men naked, looked for tattoos," said Dmytro Kartavov, a 32-year-old builder, adding that the troops paid particular attention to the men's knees.

"I work, I do repairs, naturally my knees - these are working knees. They say - (you) climbed trenches, dug, and the like."

Another group said they were stopped around 17 times at Russian checkpoints as they made their way out of Mariupol.