The Russian military says it will open a humanitarian corridor for civilians to evacuate from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the corridor will open at 2 p.m local time on April 25 for all civilians to leave the Azovstal area.

Russian troops “from 14:00 Moscow time on April 25, 2022, will unilaterally stop any hostilities, withdraw units to a safe distance and ensure the withdrawal of” civilians, the ministry said in a statement.

Evacuees wait before boarding a bus to leave the city of Mariupol on April 20.
Evacuees wait before boarding a bus to leave the city of Mariupol on April 20.

The sprawling metalworks has remained the last bulwark of Ukrainian resistance in the strategic Sea of Azov port city.

Ukrainian officials have said that up to 1,000 civilians have sheltered in the sprawling maze of underground tunnels there.

They have repeatedly urged Russia to offer them a safe exit, but previous attempts at organizing evacuations have failed repeatedly.