KYIV: The authorities in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol say that nearly 40,000 people have fled over the past week.
That's nearly 10 per cent of its 430,000 population.
The city council in the Azov Sea port city said Sunday that 39,426 residents have safely evacuated from Mariupol in their own vehicles.
It said the evacuees used more than 8,000 vehicles to leave via a humanitarian corridor via Berdyansk to Zaporizhzhia.
The strategic city has been encircled by the Russian troops and faced a relentless Russian bombardment for three weeks, coming to symbolize the horror of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Local authorities have said the siege has cut off food, water and energy supplies, and killed at least 2,300 people, some of whom had to be buried in mass graves.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that the siege of Mariupol would go down in history for what he said were war crimes committed by Russian troops.