A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross will launch a new effort on Saturday to lead a convoy of civilians out of Russian-encircled Mariupol after failing to do so on Friday due to "impossible" conditions, the group said according to NBC News.
The Friday convoy was set to comprise around 54 buses and numerous private vehicles.
A previous Red Cross attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol failed in early March, Reuters reports. Ukrainian government sources accused Russian troops of continuing to shell the city during the agreed-upon evacuation window, while Russia claimed Ukrainian forces were forcing civilians to remain in Mariupol as human shields.
On Monday, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko — who is no longer in the city — said in a televised interview that Russia's assault on Mariupol has killed nearly 5,000 people and that some 160,000 remain trapped in the city without electricity or clean water.
Mariupol is strategically located on a "land bridge" that would connect the Donbas, which is controlled by Russian-backed separatists, with Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. After failing to quickly capture major cities, Russia has made taking Mariupol a major focus of its "special military operation" against Ukraine.