The evacuation of civilians from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol has been "thwarted" by the Russian military, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol said on his official Telegram account Saturday.
At 11 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) Saturday, at least 200 residents had gathered near a shopping center in Mariupol, waiting to be evacuated to Zaporizhzhia. But "instead of the buses promised by the Russian side, the Russian military approached the Mariupol residents and ordered them to leave because 'there will be shelling now,'" Petro Andriushchenko said.
The Russian military brought buses to another location about 200 meters away from the agreed evacuation point, and when residents had already been loaded on the buses, they were told they'll be evacuated to the city of Dokuchaevsk, "i.e. in the occupied territories," Andriushchenko said.
"People were not given the right to leave the bus. When asked why, the answer was 'nationalists fired on the evacuation point.' That is another lie," Andriushchenko said.
"Yes, once again, the Russians disrupted the evacuation. Brazenly using the efforts of Mariupol residents to return home and the honesty of the Ukrainian army in a ceasefire to organize their own plans," he added.
The Ukrainian parliament also tweeted that the evacuation was "disrupted."
"About 200 Mariupol residents were going to leave, but when they arrived at the assembly point, the [Russian] military told them to disperse because 'there will be shelling now'," according to the parliament's official account.