Ukrainian officials rejected the Kremlin’s unilateral proposal to create evacuation corridors for civilians as unacceptable. Most of the roads lead to Russia or its powerful ally Belarus and would require people to travel through active combat zones.
A spokesman for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Moscow’s offer “completely immoral” and said Russia was trying to “take advantage of people’s suffering to create a television image,” Reuters reported.
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshuk responded to Russia’s announcement by asking Moscow to “accept our options for our methods, as well as … a ceasefire, which we will agree on.” Ukraine requested the opening of evacuation corridors that largely keep citizens within Ukraine’s borders.
Regardless, skepticism about such passages has grown after civilian evacuations were halted within hours on Saturday and Sunday when Russian forces were accused of bombing escape routes.
The controversy over the evacuation corridors comes as Russia steps up its efforts in its attack on Ukraine. Attacks on the capital Kyiv escalated, while citizens of Mariupol and other major cities remained without water and food for several days, unable to flee.
On Monday, Dominic Stillhart, director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said problems remained in confirming the details of any ceasefire agreement.
Stillhart told BBC Radio 4’s Today program the challenge was to get Russia and Ukraine to a “concrete, enforceable and precise” agreement.
So far, he added, there were only agreements “in principle” that immediately collapsed because they lacked precision about the methods and who could use them. To illustrate his point, he said that some ICRC staff tried to get out of Mariupol along an agreed route on Sunday, but soon realized that “the road indicated was already mined”.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, this Monday morning, that the civilian corridors leading directly to Russia are part of a personal request from French President Emmanuel Macron to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
But the Elysee Palace responded with a statement saying that this was not true. She added, “The personal demand of the (French) President of the Republic, like other allies and partners, is that the Russian offensive ends.”
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk criticized the Kremlin’s claim.
“We urge the Russian Federation to stop manipulating and abusing the confidence of world leaders such as Emmanuel Macron, such as those of China, Turkey or India, and make the roads we have outlined open,” Vereshuk said in a video statement published by him. by the government.
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