The Ukrainian military occupied firing points during the regime of silence at Azovstal, this regime was established for the evacuation of civilians, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The department indicated that the military of the DPR and Russia are destroying these positions = “The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that the Armed Forces of Ukraine were occupying firing positions at Azovstal” />
Ukrainian military and fighters of “Azov” (recognized as extremist in Russia and banned), located at the Azovstal plant; in Mariupol, took up firing positions during the silence regime introduced for the evacuation of civilians, said the press officer of the Russian Ministry of Defense Vadim Astafyev, the Zvezda TV channel reported.
“They came out of the basements, they occupied firing positions on the territory and in the buildings of the plant. Now units of the Russian army and the DPR, using artillery and aircraft, are beginning to destroy these firing positions, — said Astafiev (quote from RIA Novosti).
Evacuation of civilians from the territory of the metallurgical plant “Azovstal” became one of the main topics of the meeting of UN Secretary General António Guterres with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. The Ukrainian authorities asked Guterres to become the initiator and guarantor of the withdrawal of civilians from the plant, he offered Putin the mediation of the UN and the Red Cross. After the consent of the Russian president, the UN began to form a group whose purpose was to coordinate the evacuation.
The Russian side suspected that the Ukrainian authorities intended to withdraw all the people at the plant to the territory controlled by Kyiv in order to hide the presence of mercenaries among them, this version was voiced by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in early May. He said that on the territory of “Azovstal” there are a large number of “characters who will confirm the presence of both mercenaries, and perhaps active officers of the Western armies, on the side of the Ukrainian radicals.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense announced the evacuation from Azovstal 46 people for 30 April. The next day, May 1, 80 civilians were taken out of the plant, 69 of them wished to go to the territory controlled by Kyiv, they left in the direction of Zaporozhye, accompanied by UN and Red Cross employees.
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The Kremlin insists that civilians have the right to freely leave the territory of Azovstal; and “go in any direction”, the Ukrainian military should hand over their weapons and also leave, they will be spared their lives. In mid-April, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev warned that “mercenaries” who did not surrender to Russian forces “are subject to denazification in the first place.” “Of course, if they survive,” — he added.
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