Russia has decided to hold fire and open humanitarian corridors in Ukrainian cities, including capital Kyiv, at 1000 Moscow time on Monday, the Interfax news agency quoted Russia’s defence ministry as saying.
Civilians from Ukrainian cities Kharkiv, Mariupol, and Sumy will be allowed to leave utilising the corridors at the behest of French president Emmanuel Macron and the prevailing situation in these cities, the report added.
People leaving Kyiv will be airlifted to Russia and Belarus, the defence ministry said.
The Russian defence ministry said it will use drones to monitor the evacuation efforts and “attempts by the Ukrainian side to deceive Russia and the whole civilised world … are useless this time,” Interfax reported.
Moscow’s fresh attempt to launch evacuation in Ukrainian cities even as its troops continue to shell and bomb the country comes just a day after two other similar efforts from Mariupol and Volnovakha tanked over the weekend, owing to continuous shelling and attacks.
The critical evacuation of thousands from Ukrainian cities, attempting to flee the war, was hampered on Sunday after Russian troops shelled Ukraine from three directions — centre, north and south — leaving many dead on the streets.
A roller suitcase was found next to bodies on the outskirts of capital city Kyiv. In Kharkiv, a car was reduced to rubble and a man was killed in a Russian rocket attack, turning the evacuation efforts grim as many Ukrainians could neither stay in their country nor leave.
The shelling only worsened as the Russian invasion of Ukraine marked its 12th day on Monday, as Ukrainian officials called the failed evacuation efforts “catastrophic”.
Dialogue between Ukraine and Russia turned colder over the weekend as Russian president charged at Ukrainian administration and said that attacks from Moscow could stop “only if Kyiv ceases hostilities”.
Mr Putin has also asked Ukraine to “fulfil the well-known demands of Russia.”
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky stepped up the offensive against Russia and asked his citizens to “drive this evil out of our cities, from our land” and take to the streets.
“Instead of humanitarian corridors, they can only make bloody ones,” the president said on Sunday after a Russian bombing stopped an evacuation bid.
“Today a family was killed in Irpin. Man, woman and two children. Right on the road. As in a shooting gallery,” he said.
A total of eight civilians were killed in Ukraine’s Irpin in a Russian shelling attack, the city’s mayor confirmed.
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