Nearly 500 more civilians were evacuated from Ukraine’s Azovstal steel plant and Mariupol city, according to presidential sources on Friday. 

“We conducted another phase of the difficult operation to evacuate people from Mariupol and Azovstal. I can confirm that we were able to evacuate almost 500 civilians,” Andrii Yermak, the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said on Telegram.

Thanking the UN for helping the evacuation, he stressed that Ukraine would continue to do everything possible to rescue all civilians and military personnel.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a tweet confirmed the successful evacuation of the civilians, saying: “2 safe passage convoys successfully evacuated nearly 500 people from the Azovstal plant, the city of Mariupol & surrounding areas.”

“I hope that continued coordination with Moscow and Kyiv will lead to more humanitarian pauses in order to allow civilians safe passage,” he added. 

At least 3,280 civilians have been killed and 3,451 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 5.7 million people have fled to other countries, with some 7.7 million people internally displaced, data from the UN refugee agency show.

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