9 volunteer drivers on rescue mission to Mariupol detained by Russian forces, support group says

Nine volunteer drivers on rescue mission to Mariupol detained by Russian forces, aid group says


A total of 10 minibus drivers had driven into the Donbas region to help evacuate civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol, operating private vehicles in a low-profile rescue mission. Russian soldiers stopped them and tried to get them to drive the buses into Russia. When the drivers refused, they were taken prisoner, said Alex Voronin, the head of the non-government organization.

Voronin told CNN he had lost contact with all the drivers but one.

“All of them carried out the evacuation of people in the direction of Mariupol-Zaporizhzhia, they were sent on their trips on different dates – March 26, 27 and 31,” Voronin told CNN. “Communication with them broke off the next day after departure. According to the people they managed to evacuate, the Russian military took the vehicles with people in Mariupol from the drivers, the evacuees were taken to the village of Nikolske, the drivers themselves were taken away for identification. Some of them are being held in pre-trial detention…