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The United Nations on Friday engaged in efforts to arrange an evacuation of Ukrainian civilians from the city of Mariupol.
Mariupol mayor Vadym Boychenko said the circumstances in the city have become dire and that civilians are “begging” to be saved amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“There, it’s not a matter of days. It’s a matter of hours,” Boychenko said, according to The Associated Press.
This comes as the Ukrainian military continues its fight to mitigate Russian efforts to advance in the southern and eastern regions of the country. Russia is attempting to secure Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region.
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People in some cities in the eastern European country have heard artillery fire, sirens and explosions. Yet, a senior U.S. defense official told The AP that the Russian attack is slower than anticipated due in part to the strength of Ukraine’s resistance.
The U.N. previously ensured its support for the Ukrainian effort to fend off Russian forces during a Thursday press conference in Kyiv.
“I am here to focus on ways on how the U.N. can expand support for the people of Ukraine, saving lives, reduce suffering and help find the path of peace”, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres told reporters at the time.
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Following the press conference, two missiles reportedly struck Ukraine’s capital city, resulting in at least one death and several injuries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.