Russia had started to storm the the Azovstal steel plant, which is the last pocket of resistance in the bombed out city of Mariupol.
The deputy commander of the Azov Regiment, which is holed up in the plant, confirmed to AP that Russian forces began to storm the plant on Tuesday. The attack happened even after hundreds of civilians were still stranded at the plant, according to Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
A total of 127 civilians were evacuated from the plant to Ukrainian-held territory in a UN-assisted evacuation effort. Osnat Lubriani, the UN's humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine told 101 people among those evacuated have seen daylight after more than two months as per the reports.
The United Nations says more than 300 civilians from the besieged southeastern city of Mariupol and four other towns have been evacuated to Ukrainian-held Zaporizhzhia in a second successful operation to get civilians out of areas subject to Russian shelling and attacks.
Osnat Lubrani, the UN humanitarian chief in Ukraine, said in a statement that many of the civilians from Mariupol, Manhush, Berdiansk, Tokmak and Vasylivka came Wednesday with nothing but the clothes they were wearing and are now getting humanitarian assistance. She said they'll also receive "much-needed psychological support."
Her statement did not say whether the evacuation included any civilians from the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol which is surrounded by Russian troops and reportedly came under renewed fire Wednesday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says they are trying to reach an agreement to save people at the Azovstal mill, where there are still civilians, including women and children. He said the 344 evacuated Wednesday are in addition to the more than 150 people who were evacuated earlier this week from the bunkers under the city's steel plant.
(with inputs from AP)