Oliver Meth and Ekeomah Atuonwu
The Russian military will hold fire and open humanitarian corridors in several Ukrainian cities including the capital Kyiv on Monday, Russia’s defence ministry said.
The corridors, which will also be opened from the cities of Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy, are being set up at the personal request of French President Emmanuel Macron and in view of the current situation in those cities, it said.
Corridors from Mariupol and Sumy will lead both to other Ukrainian cities and to Russia.
Those who want to leave Kyiv will also be able to be airlifted to Russia, the ministry said, adding that it would use drones to monitor the evacuation and “attempts by the Ukrainian side to deceive Russia and the whole civilised world… are useless this time.”
According to the Defence Ministry, Russia’s military will hold fire after fighting halted the weekend’s evacuation efforts.
Over the weekend, two attempts to evacuate civilians from Mariupol through authorized humanitarian corridors were unsuccessful. According to Ukrainian military authorities, evacuations from the port city of Mariupol were set to begin at noon local time on Sunday amid a ceasefire.
According to his office, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also encouraged Russian President Vladimir Putin to proclaim a truce in Ukraine, create humanitarian corridors, and sign a peace accord.
Putin told Erdogan via a phone call that Russia would end its military operation only if Ukraine stopped fighting and Moscow’s demands were met, according to the Kremlin.
The president stated that the operation was proceeding according to schedule.
According to the statement, Putin expressed his hope in Ukrainian negotiators would taking a more constructive approach to talks and consider the realities on the ground.
Russia’s invasion has been condemned around the world, sent more than 1.5 million Ukrainians fleeing abroad, and triggered sweeping Western-led sanctions aimed at crippling the Russian economy.
Russia has repeatedly denied attacking civilians and says it has no plans to occupy Ukraine.
Last week, several African countries evacuated their nationals living in the war torn country, as the on-going conflict continues since February 24th.