On Tuesday a fleet of city buses, flanked by white United Nations and Red Cross vehicles, just over 150 women and children who were sheltered in the belly of Mariupol's sprawling steelworks, arrived in the relative safety of Ukrainian-controlled territory, despite the horror of an incessant Russian bombing campaign.
Their evacuation was a rare but limited victory for diplomacy, and an unusual concession to human dignity by Russian forces who have inflicted death and misery on civilian populations across a broad swath of Ukraine since the war began on February 24.
Olga Savina, an elderly woman, said she was seated in Azovstal for two and a half months and they slammed us from all sides. She said that the sun burned her eyes after so many days were underground.
The deal between the United Nations and the International Committee for the Red Cross and Russian interlocutors allowed for civilians to escape the Azovstal steel plant, the sprawling factory that had been their refuge.