The Ukrainian government sent nearly 45 buses on Thursday March 31 to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, a besieged city in the south-east of the country. Until now, civilians could only leave Mariupol with their own vehicles, taking great risks. Moscow announced a truce to allow their departure and the establishment of humanitarian corridors.
Relief in Mariupol. 3,000 civilians have been able to flee this city in southeastern Ukraine besieged by the Russians since the start of the war. 45 buses came to pick them up after Moscow announced a truce. Until now, residents could only leave Mariupol by their own means, taking great risks.
“Corpses lying here and there”
Viktoria is among those who managed to flee. She recounts the martyrdom of her city at the microphone of Europe 1. “There is just nothing left. Only ruins. While driving, you could see corpses lying here and there”, she recalls, her voice tight. . “Torn off arms and legs lay everywhere. We saw fragments of shells, people lying on the ground, crosses. Now there is only one common grave for everyone, without anyone knowing who is there”.
“A humanitarian convoy is first and foremost a political agreement”
The Red Cross must try to open yet another humanitarian corridor. Without success. “Humanitarian convoys are in negotiation. We saw yesterday, it failed, but I very sincerely hope that it can be put in place,” says Marie-Pierre Caley, director general of the French international solidarity NGO ACTED. She insists on the need to discuss with the Russians because “a humanitarian convoy is first of all a political agreement”. “It’s the Red Cross who coordinates all this, which is very legitimate and who knows how to do this kind of thing, and who must discuss with all those in charge of the checkpoints so that they let the convoy pass and guarantee its safety” , she continues.
A humanitarian corridor works “two-way”. “That is to say that as far as possible, not only are we evacuating civilians, but also we can send aid for people who are still in Mariupol”, explains Marie-Pierre Caley. The General Manager of ACTED is in contact with the Red Cross. “What we hope with all our heart is that they get there and that it will last several days”.