Latest Russia-Ukraine War News: Live Updates
Ukraine said Russia’s announcement of humanitarian corridors evacuating civilians to Russia and Belarus was “unacceptable” and insisted that the flow of people from combat zones to western Ukraine or European Union countries should be allowed.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced six evacuation corridors and claimed that an agreement had been reached with the Ukrainian side in advance: one from the capital Kyiv to Gomel in Belarus; two from the hard-hit port city of Mariupol to Zaporizhia in south-eastern Ukraine and Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia; one from Kharkiv to the Belgorod region of Russia; two from Sumy to Belgorod and to Poltava in east-central Ukraine.
Russia said the opening of the corridors came at the personal request of French President Emmanuel Macron after he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday. Macron has dismissed Russia’s claim that he was calling for humanitarian corridors in Ukraine leading to Russia.
Some local leaders said there were no confirmations of a temporary ceasefire, and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk posted a video on the Presidential Channel saying the proposed evacuation routes were “unacceptable”.
“This is an unacceptable variant of opening humanitarian corridors,” she said in the video. “Our people will not go to Belarus so that they can then fly to the Russian Federation by plane.”
“I hope French President Emmanuel Macron understands that his name and genuine efforts to help Ukraine’s civilian population and foreign citizens are actually being used and manipulated by the Russian Federation.”
Ukraine accused Russia of interfering with two earlier attempts to evacuate civilians over the weekend, and the latest announcement from Moscow came as its forces continued to bomb airfields and encircle cities across Ukraine.
“We have no confirmation at the moment that the ceasefire has started… [or was] get on your way to that day,” said Deputy Mayor of Mariupol Sergey Orlov. said the BBC, and said it was difficult to gather information as the city had been without electricity, heating, water or phones for days and Russian shelling continued. “The route is not safe,” he said.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: “Detailed information about the humanitarian corridors was transmitted to the Ukrainian side in advance, as well as to the specialized structures of the UN, OSCE and the International Committee of the Red Cross.”
Without presenting any evidence, he blamed Ukrainian “nationalists” for the deaths of four civilians in an attempted evacuation from Mariupol on Sunday evening.