The UN has confirmed that people are being evacuated from Azovstal. Zelensky said that the first group left for Zaporizhzhia

Oleksiy Yarmolenko

The United Nations has confirmed that an operation is underway to evacuate civilians from the Azovstal plant in besieged Mariupol.

Saviano Abreu, a spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told this The Associated Press.

He said that the operation was carried out jointly with the Red Cross in communication with the Russian and Ukrainian sides. According to the spokesman, the situation is "very difficult" at the moment, so he cannot give any details.

This information was later confirmed by President Volodymyr Zelensky. He said that the first group of 100 civilians had already left for Zaporizhia by bus. Other people are being evacuated.

There are about a thousand civilians and about two thousand Ukrainian servicemen at the Azovstal plant. There are also many wounded, both civilian and military.