Ukrainian President Zelensky said that a first group of about 100 people had been removed from the huge industrial complex in Azovstal. They will be transferred to the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhia.
The rescue operation is being coordinated by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross as approved by the Russian and Ukrainian authorities.
“When the bunker started shaking again, I got hysterical,” Usmanova told Reuters news agency in the pro-Russian village of Bizimeni, from which she will be traveling to Zaporizhia. “We were afraid that the place would collapse.” Natalia worked at the factory most of her life.
Narrow in the tunnels, Usmanova describes a situation that several international organizations have described as inhumane. The history of the structure dates back to the Soviet era.
Natalia will travel from the pro-Russian Donetsk region to Ukrainian territory.
When she and her husband left the devastated city of Mariupol on a bus, she joked that she no longer had to go to the bathroom with a flashlight. “It is unimaginable what kind of terror we had to endure. I have loved all my life to live and work in the factory, but this was terrible.”
In addition to civilians, there are also Ukrainian fighters in the complex, according to Russia.
Mariupol’s municipal council said people trapped elsewhere in the coastal city should be patient. Their departure through a humanitarian corridor was postponed until Monday morning at 08:00 local time.