- The United Nations has called for an immediate cessation of fighting in Mariupol to evacuate civilians.
- More than 100,000 civilians are trapped in Mariupol, where attempts at humanitarian corridors have failed.
- Russian forces have made gains in the city, but Ukrainian leaders say they retain control of Mariupol.
The United Nations has called for an immediate ceasefire in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol so that trapped civilians can be evacuated.
Amin Awad, the UN crisis coordinator for the war in Ukraine, invoked the Orthodox Easter holiday on Sunday in a plea to “focus on our common humanity”.
“The lives of tens of thousands of people, including women, children and the elderly, are at stake in Mariupol,” Awad said in a press release. “We need a pause in the fighting right now to save lives. The longer we wait, the more lives will be at risk. They must be allowed to evacuate safely now, today. Tomorrow may be too late. .”
More than 100,000 civilians are trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol, located in southern Ukraine on the Sea of Azov. Several attempts at humanitarian corridors to allow safe passage for civilians have failed.
Russian forces have gained a foothold in the city, but Ukrainian leaders say they retain control of the city. On Saturday, Russian forces in Mariupol attempted to storm the Azovstal steelworks, where around 2,000 Ukrainian troops and 1,000 civilians are sheltering.
Igor Zhovkva, deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office, on Sunday made repeated calls for a humanitarian corridor.
“The city is almost wiped out. People are living without basic conditions, without food, without water supply, without electricity,” Zhovkva said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement on Sunday that it was working “day in and day out to reach civilians in need, in Mariupol and other towns where civilians are trapped.”
“The ICRC is deeply alarmed by the situation in Mariupol, where the population is in urgent need of assistance,” the statement said. “Immediate and unhindered humanitarian access is urgently needed to allow the safe voluntary passage of thousands of civilians and hundreds of injured people out of the city, including from the Azovstal plant area.”
The committee added: “Every day, every hour that passes has a terrible human cost.”