Ukraine says four buses carrying evacuees left Mariupol

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Four buses carrying evacuees from Mariupol have left the besieged and destroyed port city where Ukrainian forces are battling to retain control, the government said Thursday.

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“Four evacuation buses managed to leave the city yesterday through the humanitarian corridor,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on social media, adding that evacuations of women, children and the elderly would continue Thursday.

“The security situation is difficult. Things may change,” she added.

The battle for Mariupol appears to be nearing a tipping point after nearly two months of devastating fighting that has seen untold numbers of civilians trapped and killed.

Control of Mariupol and the separatist-controlled eastern Donbas region would allow Moscow to complete a southern corridor to the Crimean peninsula that it annexed in 2014, depriving Ukraine of much of its coastline.

On Wednesday, senior Ukraine negotiator and presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak proposed a “special round” of negotiations in the city to “save our guys.”

Read more:

Top Putin ally says Russia will capture Mariupol on Thursday

Ukraine says evacuation corridor agreed for besieged port city of Mariupol

Marine in besieged Mariupol says ‘maybe facing our last days, if not hours’

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