Turkey has offered to evacuate people trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol by boat, the country's defense minister announced on Saturday.
"We can provide vessel support for evacuations from Mariupol, especially regarding civilians, injured people and Turkish citizens and citizens from other nations," Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters.
The port city, which lies along the Sea of Azov on Ukraine's southern coastline, has incurred widespread damage from Russian attacks and had its plans to operate safe evacuation routes thwarted until Saturday, according to previous CNN reporting.
The Turkish Defense Ministry conveyed its "request to support the evacuations" to the Russian military attaché in Ankara and the Turkish military attaché in Moscow who passed the message onto the Russian authorities. The Ukrainian military attaché in Ankara also passed the message onto the Ukrainian authorities, according to Akar.
Turkey hosted the negotiation teams from Russia and Ukraine for talks in Istanbul earlier this week.