A woman is assisted during the U.N.-led evacuations from the Azovstal steel plant after nearly two months of siege warfare on the city of Mariupol by Russia. (David Arakhamia/Azov Regiment/Reuters)
On May 1, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant in the city of Mariupol had begun.
The ministry claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin had initiated the evacuation and that Ukrainian troops in the plant were holding the civilians as hostages:
“Thanks to President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin’s initiative, 80 civilians, including women and children, held by the Ukrainian nationalists have been rescued from the territory of the Azovstal factory in Mariupol.”
Those claims are false.