A convoy of Ukrainian buses set out for the southern port city of Mariupol on Thursday to try to deliver humanitarian supplies and bring out trapped civilians, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
She said 45 buses were on their way to Mariupol after the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed Russia had agreed to open a safe corridor.
The city mayor said this week that up to 170,000 residents were trapped in Mariupol with no power and dwindling supplies.
“There are 45 buses en route to Mariupol,” Vereshchuk said in a statement.
The city, which usually has a population of more than 400,000, has been a strategic focus of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began five weeks ago, and has suffered near-constant bombardment.
Repeated attempts to organise safe corridors have failed, with each side blaming the other. Russia denies targeting civilians in its assault on Ukraine.