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Only three out of 14 buses with evacuated Mariupol residents reach territory controlled by Ukraine – mayor

KYIV. May 3 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Only 3 out of 14 evacuation buses with refugees from Mariupol, Donetsk region, reached the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government, the fate of the people who are in the remaining eleven buses is unknown, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said.

"When we announced and the Russian side agreed to the evacuation that they would give us 90 buses, they determined three locations, but only 14 buses arrived at two locations, and only three of them reached Ukraine. We understand that eleven buses have disappeared somewhere, they were supposed to move towards Zaporizhia to the controlled part of our state, but they got lost somewhere. They get lost in these filtration centers, unfortunately, they [occupiers] take and abduct our residents, and today this is happening in our Ukrainian Mariupol," Boichenko said on the air of the telethon on Tuesday morning,

When asked how many such centers there are in Mariupol and around, he said that there are four, and that the occupiers are meticulously "filtering" Ukrainians traveling to the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government. "Residents have been waiting for a month, more than a month for this filtration. If you are somehow connected with the civil service, the municipal service, then you get two months, two weeks in prison, I don’t know how they define it. Those who went through this prison, these torture, they are already testifying," the mayor of Mariupol said.

Boichenko also said that on Tuesday, 2,000 residents of Mariupol were expected to be evacuated from the occupied Berdiansk, Zaporizhia region, where they managed to get on their own. "They have been waiting for this evacuation for two weeks already, and we announced the beginning of this evacuation, but the enemy Russian troops are destroying our plans and do not give such an opportunity for our Ukrainians, our Mariupol residents to reach the controlled part of our state, to the city of Zaporizhia… Now the convoy is moving in the direction of Zaporizhia, this evacuation is still ongoing… We are waiting for it to happen," he said.

When asked how many civilians remained in Mariupol, Boichenko replied that more than 100,000, including at least 200 directly on the territory of the Azovstal plant. "There are still civilians at Azovstal, in our fortress, which is also being destroyed… and they are also waiting to be evacuated. More than 200 people of the local population are still hiding in this territory. Also, our guys continue to defend Mariupol, to defend our state… More than 100,000 people remain in the city, who are also waiting for evacuation," Boichenko said.