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Besieged Mariupol to be evacuated and receive Red Cross aid

The Ukrainian Armed Forces and the people of Ukraine have put up stiff resistance against Russian invaders but they have paid a hefty price in return.

In spite of Ukrainian successes in repelling the invaders, the war is not without its cost for the Ukrainians. So far 4 mln refugees have left the country, whilstcities and villages have been laid to waste, including the southern port city of Mariupol on the coast of the Black Sea.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is bringing a convoy of humanitarian aid, scheduled to arrive on Friday, March 31, to the city that has been besieged for weeks now. The latest reports indicate that Russians have agreed to the evacuation of civilians from the city, with a convoy of 45 buses sent by the Ukrainian side to transfer the residents to relative safety.

Mariupol is a strategic location for Russian control, as it is located on the Sea of Azov (an inlet of the Black Sea), close to the areas controlled by the self-proclaimed and pro-Russian “Donetsk People’s Republic”. It is a large city that was home to 430,000 inhabitants before the onset of the war and was the region’s main port. Securing control over Mariupol would allow the Russians to build a land bridge, linking the coal-rich Donbas region with the illegally annexed peninsula of Crimea to the southwest.

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