He said this in an interview on the occasion of the third anniversary of his inauguration as Ukraine's president, an excerpt from which was broadcast on the UArazom information marathon, Ukrinform reports.
"To date, all civilians -- those who were blocked at the plant -- have been taken away. The evacuation of other civilians who were near the plant or those who were in Mariupol has begun long ago. Civilians have been taken away, medics have been taken away, seriously wounded have been taken out, wounded have been taken away. At this moment, as we are talking, I know what is happening there. It seems to me that in the near future, not even in the coming days, I think the evacuation of everyone will be completed in the near future," Zelensky said.
He stressed that the structure and process of evacuation from Azovstal are complex.
"We agreed that the unblocking will be done by intermediaries - Western partners. I negotiated with Turkey, Switzerland, Israel, first with France, due to the leaders' relations with the Russian Federation - when we saw that it was impossible to unblock [Azovstal] by military means," Zelensky said.
The evacuation of Ukrainian defenders from the Azovstal steel plant began on May 16. Some 53 severely wounded servicemen were taken to a medical facility in Novoazovsk, whereas another 211 defenders were evacuated through the humanitarian corridor to Olenivka with their subsequent return to the territory controlled by Ukraine through an exchange procedure.
Photo: President's Office
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