ZAPORIZHZHIA, May 2 (AP) — After nearly two months of siege, civilians holed up at a steel plant in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol began to be evacuated over the weekend, and people sheltering elsewhere in the city were to be allowed out on Monday, local officials said.

Video posted online Sunday by Ukrainian forces showed elderly women and mothers with small children climbing over a steep pile of debris out of the sprawling Azovstal steel plant’s rubble and eventually boarding a bus.

More than 100 civilians were expected to arrive in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday.

“Today, for the first time in all the days of the war, this vitally needed (humanitarian) corridor has started working,” Zelenskyy said in a pre-recorded address published on his Telegram messaging channel.

There were worries about the safety of evacuees. People fleeing Russian-occupied areas in the past have described their vehicles being fired on, and Ukrainian officials have repeatedly accused Russian forces of shelling agreed-upon evacuation routes.

A Ukrainian defender of the steel plant urged groups like the U.N. and the Red Cross to ensure the safety of those being evacuated. Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov Regiment, told The Associated Press in an interview that there should be guarantees from “a third party -- politicians, world leaders -- who will cooperate to negotiate with Russians to extract us from here.”