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MOSCOW: The Russian defence ministry said Sunday that nearly 50 civilians have been evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.

“On April 30, following the implementation of a ceasefire and the opening of a humanitarian corridor, two groups of civilians have left the residential buildings adjacent to the site of the Azovstal steel plant,” the ministry said on Telegram.

“Twenty-five residents left in the afternoon. In the early evening, a second group of 21 people left and were taken to Bezimenne,” a village situated halfway between Mariupol and the Russian border.

“All of the civilians were given accommodation, food and necessary medical help,” the Russian authorities said, without specifying where the first group had been taken.

Russia says Ukraine shells its own civilians; some evacuations in Mariupol

A defence ministry video showed a convoy of cars and buses travelling in the dark, marked with a “Z”, the letter used by the Russian forces in the conflict.

On Saturday, the Ukrainian forces guarding the Azovstal site had said that 20 civilians, including children, had been evacuated to the city of Zaporizhzhia.

On Sunday, the Russian defence ministry also confirmed that “near Odessa, high-precision Onyx missiles destroyed a hangar at a military aerodrome housing weapons and ammunition from the United States and European countries, and the runway was also destroyed.”

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