Around 35,000 Ukrainians evacuated, more corridors planned: Zelensky

A woman is evacuated, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Irpin, Ukraine, on March 9, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

LVIV (REUTERS) - Around 35,000 Ukrainians were evacuated through humanitarian corridors from three cities on Wednesday (March 9), President Volodymyr Zelensky said, adding that the authorities planned to open another six escape routes on Thursday.

Mr Zelensky said in a televised address that rescue efforts would focus on Mariupol and Izyum, which have both been heavily bombarded. A children's hospital was bombed in Mariupol on Wednesday despite a Russian pledge to halt firing so at least some trapped civilians could escape the city.

Mr Zelensky said the 35,000 civilians had left from the cities of Sumy and Energodar as well as towns in the Kyiv region.

Interfax Ukraine news agency earlier cited Mr Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president's office, as saying that a total of around 48,000 Ukrainians had been evacuated through humanitarian corridors so far, most of them from Sumy.

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