Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said around 100,000 people had been evacuated via evacuation corridors in the past two days.
“One of the main tasks for us today was the organization of humanitarian corridors,” Zelensky said in a video address posted to Facebook late Thursday evening. “Sumy, Trostyanets, Krasnopillya, Irpin, Bucha, Hostomel, Izium. Almost 40,000 people have already been evacuated so far. They have finally been brought to safety. In Poltava, Kyiv, Cherkassy, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Lviv .”
He said humanitarian aid, food and medicine had been delivered.
“We are doing everything to save our people in the cities that the enemy just wants to destroy,” Zelensky said.
Mariupol and Volnovakha, however, remain completely blocked, he said, adding that despite Ukrainian officials’ best efforts to make the corridor work, “Russian troops have not ceased fire.” Regardless, Zelensky said he still decided to send a convoy of trucks carrying food, water and medicine.
“But the invaders launched a tank attack exactly in the area where this corridor was supposed to be. Corridor of life. For the people of Mariupol,” the president said.
Earlier Thursday: Local authorities in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol said Russian forces had started dropping bombs on the designated “green corridor” to evacuate residents of Mariupol.
“At the moment, the aerial bombardment of Mariupol is underway,” said Petro Andryushchenko, adviser to the mayor of Mariupol.
“They did it consciously. They knew what they were upsetting. They have a clear order to hold Mariupol hostage, torture him, constantly bombard him,” Zelensky said.
He added: “Today they destroyed the building of the main department of the state emergency service in the Donetsk region. Right next to this building was the place where the inhabitants of Mariupol had to gather for the evacuation”
Earlier today, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko also posted an angry video message condemning what he called Russia’s “cynical and destructive war on humanity” and said that every 30 minutes, the city was overrun by Russian forces. The mayor said humanitarian aid could not reach Mariupol for the sixth consecutive day.
Zelensky noted that the state will continue to try to provide Mariupol with the help its people “desperately need”.