A representative of the self-proclaimed "people's republic" of Donetsk said that a group of Ukrainian servicemen allegedly left the territory of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol with a white flag. The Azov Regiment denied this information in their Telegram channel.
Russian and separatist media reported, citing a "DPR" spokesman, that a group of Ukrainian fighters allegedly left Azovstal with a white flag and were met by Russian servicemen as parlimentaires. "This is the first personal contact between the parties during the blockade of Mariupol," the propagandists wrote.
Azov explained that it was in fact civilians leaving the plant with a white flag to evacuate.
"White flags are used by both groups to implement the plan to evacuate civilians. This time as well, both groups used such flags to evacuate citizens from the territory of the Azovstal plant. We would like to note that this is the fourth time this procedure has been carried out," Azov said in a statement.
Evacuation from the factory
With the support of the UN, the evacuation of civilians from Azovstal began on May 1. Also on May 2, people from other districts of Mariupol left. And on May 3, the first group of Ukrainian civilians that had left on May 1 arrived in Zaporizhzhia. On May 4, 344 people were evacuated from Mariupol and nearby villages.
And on May 6, another 50 women, children and elderly people were evacuated from the territory of the Azovstal plant in besieged Mariupol. In total, with the support of the UN, almost 500 people were deported from Mariupol and the plant.
The situation in Mariupol
Currently, most of Mariupol is under Russian occupation, but the Ukrainian military continues to defend itself on the territory of the Azovstal steelworks. Ukrainian defenders and a number of civilians remain blocked there. Acting Commander of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade Serhiy Volynskyi said on April 27 that Azovstal housed more than 600 wounded servicemen, as well as civilians, children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
On May 5, Deputy Commander of the Azov Regiment, Captain Sviatoslav Palamar "Kalyna", stated that Russian troops had broken into the perimeter of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, which continues to be defended by Ukrainian fighters. For the third day, active battles were taking place.
Palamar stressed that there was no evacuation of civilians from the plant. He later recorded a video message to President Volodymyr Zelensky and the world community asking him to evacuate civilians and take care of wounded soldiers.
The whole of Mariupol has been blocked for more than two months. According to preliminary estimates of local authorities, 20,000 people died as a result of Russia's actions.