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Civilians start leaving Azot plant in Severodonetsk - LPR ambassador to Russia

That gate is not controlled by militants

LUGANSK, June 12. /TASS/. Civilians have begun leaving the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk, Rodion Miroshnik, Ambassador of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) to Russia, said on Saturday.

"Civilians have started coming out of Azot!" he wrote on his Telegram channel. "Civilians began to exit by Gate 2 of the Azot chemical plant. That gate is not controlled by militants. They (civilians - TASS) are being met and taken to safety by soldiers of the allied forces."

Miroshnik says that the remaining Ukrainian troops are holding a few buildings next to Gate 1.

"There are periodic exchanges of fire," he said adding that several hundred civilians may still be held hostage by the militants.

"As the militants are being encircled more and more, the civilians will be able to come out of their shelters. The allied forces are preparing transport for their evacuation," the diplomat concluded.

Earlier on Saturday, Miroshnik said that 300-400 Ukrainian fighters and up to 500 civilians might be holed up at the plant and that contact with the militants had been established and that negotiations were underway.

On Thursday, Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, the chief of Russia’s National Defense Management Center, said that Ukrainian militants, who were forcibly holding hundreds of Severodonetsk residents in the Azot plant’s underground facilities, planned to blow up chemical containers when retreating.