First stage of evacuations along safe corridors in Ukraine begins

Ukrainian women sit inside a van as artillery echoes nearby, as people flee Irpin
Associated Press/Emilio Morenatti

The first stage of evacuations along safe corridors in Ukraine began on Tuesday following three rounds of talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry announced that both sides had agreed to a safe corridor between the eastern city of Sumy and Poltava, which sits closer to Ukraine’s center. The foreign ministry said that safe corridor would run between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time and allow both civilians and foreign students to evacuate.

The foreign ministry also posted a video of a bus with a red cross on it with civilians evacuating. Later that morning, it said that the cease-fire had been violated.

“Ceasefire violated! Russian forces are now shelling the humanitarian corridor from Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol. 8 trucks + 30 buses ready to deliver humanitarian aid to Mariupol and to evac civilians to Zaporizhzhia. Pressure on Russia MUST step up to make it uphold its commitments,” the ministry tweeted.

Officials also alleged that foreign diplomatic missions had also been targeted by Russian forces.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly condemns the shelling of the premises of foreign diplomatic missions in Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation,” the foreign ministry said in a Facebook post.

“The Russian military’s missile and bombings damaged the building in Mariupol where the Greek Consulate General and the office of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine were located. Honored consulates of Slovenia, Azerbaijan and Albania in Kharkiv were also destroyed,” it continued. “Russia’s armed attacks on the premises of diplomatic missions represent gross violation of international humanitarian law, the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.”

The development comes amid a backdrop of over 2 million people who have fled Ukraine in less than two weeks since Russia began its invasion, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

The invasion has been widely condemned by the international community, and governments have imposed sanctions to isolate Russia while companies have nixed business with the country. 

Tags Russia Ukraine

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