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Ukraine steel plant evacuations spark new optimism – and cause for concern

There is a glimmer of hope emerging from the besieged Azovstal Steel Works plant in Mariupol, Ukraine

The first 100 of roughly 1,000 civilians, mostly women and children, have been evacuated from the sprawling plant where the citizens have been hiding out from Russian attacks since the war started two months ago. They are expected to arrive in Zaporizhzhia, about 140 miles northwest of the city. 

The operation to remove the civilians is being coordinated by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. It comes after the plant has suffered weeks of attacks by Russian forces, killing an unknown number of people and wounding at least 600. The wounded were being attended to by a small medical staff, with some victims reportedly suffering from gangrene and other life-threatening conditions because of the inability to provide advanced medical care.


Fox News has obtained video taken by the Azov Battalion that shows the families holed up together in cramped rooms, bedding and clothes strewn throughout the basement amid the rubble. They’re begging for help. 

“We just don’t understand, what is the whole world doing?” one woman pled. “Are they just watching as Mariupol is being murdered and crucified?”

Another looked into the camera and emotionally said, “I’m begging everyone please help us, help us to escape,” before she broke down in tears. 

A destroyed tank and a damaged apartment building are seen in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Tuesday, April 26.

A destroyed tank and a damaged apartment building are seen in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Tuesday, April 26.
(AP/Alexei Alexandrov)

Another woman noted that because of the Russian attacks, they have not emerged above ground since entering the complex in February. She imagined hearing “birds sing.” 

The videos showed squalid living conditions, where the trapped people lived in the underground bunkers that were built to protect the plant’s workers from a possible nuclear attack. The complex is built six stories beneath the earth. Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko called the conditions “worse than hell.” 

“The Russians do make war on innocent people. That is a military objective they have assigned to their commanders, and it is absolutely outrageous,” retired four-star U.S. Army Gen. Jack Keane, former vice chairman of the Army and chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, told Fox News. 


There are also fears that the Russian forces will capture and kill the 1,000 or more Ukrainian fighters once the civilians are evacuated. 

“The Russians, if they attempt to get out, will kill them,” Keane said

He predicted that the carnage in Mariupol will be revealed to be “in a scale in the tens of thousands” and the world will be further exposed to the genocide committed by Vladimir Putin

Russia-Ukraine: Pleas for help from underground in Mariupol Video

Boychenko said that in the last two months, Putin has killed double the number of his city’s citizens than Adolf Hitler in a two-year period during World War II.

“In two years, the Nazis killed 10,000 civilians in Mariupol. The Russian occupiers killed more than 20,000 residents of Mariupol within two months. More than 40,000 people were forcibly deported … this is one of the worst genocides of civilians in modern history,” Boychenko said on Telegram this past weekend.

Keane said President Biden must boycott the upcoming G-20 Summit in Indonesia that Putin is expected to attend. “There is no going back to any kind of normal relationship with Putin, post Ukrainian war, given what he has done.” 


Putin is ‘losing’ Ukraine war: US army veteran Video

The New Yorkbased humanitarian group Razom For Ukraine says the killing of civilians in Mariupol shows that “this is not just a Russian military operation, but a planned genocide of the Ukrainian people.” 

Razom has been raising funds to provide medical and humanitarian supplies and has established the social media campaign to #armukrainenow. The group says Putin’s plan is to simply eradicate the Ukrainian people, and that the war strategy on display in Mariupol and the steel plant exposes his human rights abuses and war crimes. 


“The war crimes will continue,” Razom For Ukraine warned. “Let’s defend freedom and save lives.” 

Those interested in more information can contact RazomforUkraine.org.

Follow Eric Shawn on Twitter: @EricShawnTV

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