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White House has preliminary talks on President Biden’s trip to Europe, sources say

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Women chat as they take shelter in the entrance of a building in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 13. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

An adviser from the Mariupol city mayor’s office said civilians could finally exit the city through an evacuation corridor and head towards the city of Zaporizhzhia, which is under Ukrainian control.

The official, Petro Andrushchenko, said that as of 1:00 p.m. local time (7:00 a.m. ET) “we have confirmation of the ceasefire regime” on an evacuation corridor for “private transport along the route: Mariupol – Melekine – Portovske – Mangush – Berdyansk – Zaporizhzhia”.

Berdiansk is under Russian control.

“To date, more than 50 private cars have already passed Berdyansk and are heading towards Zaporizhzhia,” the official added.

Andruishchenko warned: “At the moment there is no difficulty getting through the checkpoints” but “we cannot officially guarantee security on this corridor. But it is the only corridor that has a official endorsement and actually working today”.

The Mariupol City Council claims that this green corridor is semi-official and does not guarantee the safety of people who decide to use it. In addition, only people with personal vehicles can use it. This lane is not for buses.

According to the city council, 160 cars left Mariupol and passed through Berdyansk. The last information on this was at 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET).

Mariupol has about 400,000 inhabitants. It is not known how many people left before the Russian invasion and encirclement of the city.

The city suffered extensive devastation and Ukrainian authorities claim that more than 2,500 people were killed.