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Zelenskyy gives Putin Azovstal ultimatum

“If Russian soldiers kill people in the Azovstal steel plant, any further talks shall become impossible,” announced Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday, when asked about possible peace negotiations with the Kremlin.

President Zelenskyy elaborated that “if Russians kill people who may be exchanged, if they are soldiers, or set free, if they are civilians, or people who need help, regardless of their military or civilian status, then we will have nothing to talk about at the diplomatic level.”

The President added that efforts are being made to save the soldiers defending the Azovstal compound, but he did not reveal any details.

On Friday May 6th, during an informal ceasefire at Azovstal, Russians fired anti tank missiles on the vehicle intended for the evacuation of civilians. One of the defenders was killed and six were wounded.

The soldiers of the Azov regiment who have been defending the compound have appealed to the international community for help in the evacuation of civilians and providing assistance to the wounded soldiers.

Azovstal: the last bastion of Mariupol
The Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Iryna Vereshchuk, announced that the evacuation of Mariupol would continue on Saturday afternoon. The gathering point has been set at the location of the former largest shopping centre of Mariupol, Port City.

Earlier on Friday, the Reuters agency reported that first buses carrying civilian evacuees from Azovstal arrived in the town of Bezimenne, in the Donetsk oblast.

The first evacuation from the Azovstal plant, under the auspices of the United Nations and the International Red Cross Committee took place last weekend. Close to 150 people were transported from the compound and over 300 were evacuated from other parts of Mariupol and the surrounding area.

The Azovstal compound is the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol. It has been defended by the Azov National Guard regiment and the 36th Independent Marine Brigade. Besides the military personnel, between 100 to 200 civilians, including children, have been sheltering in the expansive underground corridors and air raid shelters of the plant.

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