News Desk: Russia announced a three-day cease-fire for the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in the devastated Ukrainian city of Mariupol on Wednesday.
In a statement, the ministry said an evacuation corridor will be opened in the Azovstal area, in accordance with a decision taken by the Russian administration "based on humanitarian principles."
The Russian army opened a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of civilians, including workers, women, and children, from the Azovstal plant site on May 5-7, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Moscow time (0500-1500GMT), the statement added.
The civilians to be evacuated would be allowed to go to Russian territory as well as to areas under Kyiv's control, the statement added.
On Tuesday, Russia's Defense Ministry said Ukrainian forces holed up at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol made use of a cease-fire to take up firing positions.
"A cease-fire was announced for the safe evacuation of civilians. The Azovists (members of the Azov battalion), the Ukrainian Armed Forces who are on the territory of the Azovstal plant, left the basements and took up firing positions on the territory and inside the plant's buildings," ministry representative Vadim Astafyev told reporters in Mariupol.
On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said over 80 civilians, including women and children, left the Azovstal area, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 100 people that left the plant were heading to the Zaporizhzhia region.
At least 3,238 civilians have been killed and 3,397 others injured in Ukraine since Russia launched a war on the country on Feb. 24, according to UN estimates. The true toll is feared to be much higher.
More than 5.6 million people have fled to other countries, with some 7.7 million people internally displaced, data from the UN refugee agency shows.