An evacuation of Mariupol is underway, says adviser to mayor

An adviser to the mayor of Mariupol has said that the evacuation of the city's residents has begun, reports citing CNN.

"According to our information, the buses left Mariupol. According to the preliminary agreement, buses will pick up people in the village of Mangush and Berdyansk," Petro Andriushchenko told RFE/RL, adding that people can join the column by their own transport.

"We hope that thousands of our Mariupol residents who were stuck on the way from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia ... will get to Zaporizhzhia tonight or tomorrow morning."

However, the evacuation appears to be making very slow progress.

Mariupol city council said that buses had not reached the main assembly point yet -- a shopping center on the northwest edge of the city.

An evacuation from the besieged city had also been planned for Sunday afternoon but did not get underway.

This general evacuation is different from that involving civilians who have been trapped at the Azovstal steelworks.

As yet there is no word on whether a second phase of that evacuation will get underway Monday.

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