President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday France was working with Turkey and Greece in a “humanitarian operation” to evacuate people from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol devastated by Russian troops.
“We will work with Turkey and Greece to launch a humanitarian operation to evacuate all those who want to leave Mariupol,” Macron said after the EU summit in Brussels.
“I will have new talks with (Russian) President Vladimir Putin in the next 48 to 72 hours to finalize the details and ensure methods,” he said.
The French leader said he hoped to “be able to involve the maximum number of stakeholders in this operation”.
He said that he wanted to be “in a position” to carry out the transfer “in the next few days”.
Macron said that French officials had spoken on Friday with the mayor of Mariupol and that the remaining 150,000 residents were left trapped in “dramatic conditions”.
Authorities in the city have put the death toll in the city at more than 2,000, and said on Friday that an attack last week on a theater where civilians took refuge is feared to have killed 300 people.
Russia has made the port city the main focus of its brutal attacks on Ukraine as it tries to link the attached Crimean peninsula with Moscow -controlled areas to the east.
The Kremlin’s devastating attack on Mariupol has been paralleled by bombings by Russian troops that leveled the Chechen capitals, Grozny and Aleppo Syria.
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