Mariupol, May 3, 2022
More than 100 civilians were evacuated over the weekend from the Azovstal steelworks plant in Mariupol, the scene of the most intense fighting in the fratricidal war in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian hierarch His Eminence Metropolitan Mitrophan of Gorlovka and Slavyansk took part in organizing the evacuation of the citizens, many of whom were hesitant to leave until they saw him. Thus, he was among the first to greet those who came out.
About 1,000 people, mostly members of the infamous Azov Battalion, reportedly remain inside the plant, the last hold-out of Ukrainian troops. Talks are underway about evacuating the civilians who remain, numbering by local people's estimates at about 300. According to some of those evacuated, many civilians were "trapped by fear" by the Azov soldiers in apartment buildings on or near the territory of Azovstal, reports RIA Novosti.
Before Pascha, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine had called for a Pascha ceasefire in order to allow for a prayer procession to Mariupol to evacuate those “remaining in the long-suffering Mariupol.”