Ukraine has said Russia’s announcement of humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians to Russia and Belarus is “unacceptable”, and insisted that the flow of people from combat zones should be allowed into western Ukraine or European Union countries.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced six evacuation corridors and claimed that a prior agreement had been reached with the Ukrainian side: one from the capital, Kyiv, to Gomel in Belarus; two from the hard-hit port city of Mariupol to Zaporozhye in southeastern Ukraine and Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia; one from Kharkiv to the Russian Belgorod region; 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 with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday. Macron denied Russia’s claim that he requested humanitarian corridors in Ukraine leading to Russia.
Some local leaders said there were no assurances of a temporary ceasefire, and Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Verychuk posted a video on the presidential channel saying the proposed evacuation methods were “unacceptable”.
“This is an unacceptable option to open humanitarian corridors,” she said in the video. “Our people will not go to Belarus, so they will then go by plane to the Russian Federation.”
“I hope that the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, realizes that his name and his sincere efforts to help the civilian population of Ukraine and foreign nationals … are in fact exploited and manipulated by the Russian Federation.”
Ukraine accused Russia of obstructing two previous attempts to evacuate civilians over the weekend, and the latest announcement from Moscow came as its forces continued to bomb airports and besiege cities across Ukraine.
“We have no confirmation at the moment that a ceasefire will start… [or was] set for this day, ”the deputy mayor of Mariupol, Sergey Orlov, He told the BBC, saying that it was difficult to gather information because the city had been without electricity, heating, water or telephones for days and that Russian bombing had continued. He said, “The road is not safe.”
“Detailed information about humanitarian corridors has been provided to the Ukrainian side in advance, as well as to the specialized structures of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the International Committee of the Red Cross,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
He offered no evidence, and blamed Ukrainian “nationalists” for the deaths of four civilians in an attempt to evacuate Mariupol on Sunday night.
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