Turkey can conduct evacuation from Mariupol by sea: Defense Minister
Turkey can provide ship support for the evacuation of civilians and injured Turkish and other nationals in Mariupol through the sea, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on April 3.
“In this context, our coordination with authorities of the Russian Federation and Ukraine continues,” Akar said.
Ankara has conveyed its request to support the evacuations by inviting the military attaché of Russia in Ankara to the Defense Ministry, while the Turkish military attaché in Moscow conveyed it to Russian authorities, he said, noting that the military attaché of Ukraine in Ankara was informed about Turkey’s request.
Recalling his discussions with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts on the phone and that he also met with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov in Istanbul, the minister emphasized the significance of reaching a cease-fire as soon as possible to prevent further loss of life and ensure peace and stability.
“As Turkey, we continue to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine. Turkey also gives its support regarding evacuations. We will continue to support the Ukrainian people,” the minister said.
There are a total of 87 Turkish citizens in Ukraine and approximately 30 Turkish citizens in Mariupol, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on April 1.
Meanwhile, Moscow decided to open another humanitarian corridor in Mariupol of Ukraine for the evacuation of civilians and foreign nationals at the request of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Russian Defense Ministry said late on April 3.
The humanitarian corridor from Mariupol to Berdyansk was opened on April 3 at 12 a.m. Moscow time and strict compliance with the “regime of silence” on the way of movement was guaranteed, the statement said, referring to a cease-fire for a certain period in certain regions. Foreign nationals can travel from Berdyansk to areas controlled by Ukraine or to Russian-controlled Crimea, while the Ukrainian side of the corridor will also be implemented if the “regime of silence” is strictly observed and the Kiev administration requested to confirm in writing that it is ready for evacuation by 3 a.m. Moscow time.
Kiev should submit a written statement that it would comply with the “regime of silence” to the Russian and Turkish sides, as well as to the International Organization of the Red Cross and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), it said.