Russia and Ukraine agree to establish evacuation corridors in two cities – POLITICO

Russia and Ukraine said on Saturday citizens of the besieged city of Mariupol could be temporarily evacuated through a humanitarian corridor.

The Mariupol City Council called on its Telegram channel that Russian forces – which have been in a full-scale attack on Ukraine for over a week – would reduce operations by five hours on Saturday to allow civilians to escape. Also the Russian Ministry of Defense Confirmed its plans in a separate statement.

A similar agreement was also reached in the nearby town of Volnovakha, a senior Ukrainian official Confirmed.

Mariupol and Volnovakha was two of the hardest-hit cities during the Russian offensive and bore the brunt of Moscow’s attempts to gain strategic positions in south-eastern Ukraine.

The development comes as Russian and Ukrainian delegations prepare to meet on Saturday for a third round of talks amid the deepening conflict that has seen Russian forces bombing residential areas. Two previous rounds of talks did not bring any significant progress towards a ceasefire, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown no sign of backing down. But the humanitarian corridors are a small result.

In Mariupol, a city of over 400,000 people, 5,000 civilians are allowed to be evacuated, Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov told ITV News.

“I can confirm that this morning we received information about a ceasefire between the Ukrainian and Russian sides,” he said called. “All night we had bombs from Russian planes, but based on this information we can confirm that the ceasefire has started.”

The announcement follows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s urgent call for NATO on Friday to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine — a move NATO has ruled out over fears it could bring the military alliance into a direct confrontation with Russia.

“Everyone who dies from this day forward will also die from it [NATO]because of your weakness, because of your lack of unity,” he called. Russia and Ukraine agree to establish evacuation corridors in two cities – POLITICO

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