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Kyiv says women, children and eldery out of Mariupol steel plant

The civilians had been holding up in the plant with Ukrainian fighters making a final stand to prevent a complete takeover of Mariupol.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister says all women, children and elderly have been evacuated from a Mariupol steel plant long besieged by Russian forces. Iryna Vereshchuk made the announcement on Saturday, May 7.

“The president’s order has been carried out: All women, children and the elderly have been evacuated from Azovstal. This part of the Mariupol humanitarian operation has been completed.”

She did not elaborate. The Russian news agency Tass had reported that 50 civilians were evacuated from the plant on Saturday. A similar number left on Friday.

The civilians had been holding up in the plant with Ukrainian fighters making a final stand to prevent a complete takeover of Mariupol.

‘Victory Day’ celebrations

The war in Ukraine wracked the country’s southern coast Saturday as Russian forces fired cruise missiles at the city of Odesa and bombarded the steel mill hoping to complete their conquest of the port of Mariupol in time for Victory Day celebrations, on May 9.

However, in a sign of the unexpectedly effective defense that has sustained the fighting into its 11th week, Ukraine’s military flattened Russian positions on a Black Sea island that was captured in the war’s first days and has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance.

Western military analysts said a Ukrainian counter-offensive also was advancing around the nation’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, even as it remained a key target of Russian shelling. The Ukrainian army said it retook control of five villages and part of a sixth near hotly contested Kharkiv.

As Russia’s Monday holiday commemorating Nazi Germany’s defeat in World War II approached, cities across Ukraine prepared for an expected increase in Russian attacks. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged residents numbed by more than 10 weeks of war to heed air raid warnings.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saturday that Zelenskyy and his people “embody the spirit of those who prevalied during the Second World War.” He accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying “to twist history to attempt to justify his unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine.”

“As war again rages in Europe, we must increase our resolve to resist those who now seek to manipulate historical memory in order to advance their own ambitions,” Mr. Blinken said in a statement issued as the United States and United Kingdom marked the Allied victory in Europe 77 years ago.

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