The Russian Ministry of Defense states that it has introduced a temporary ceasefire and opened humanitarian corridors from two cities in Ukraine.
According to the announcement, reported by the Russian news agencies Tass and Interfax, the ceasefire came into force at 8 AM Norwegian time.
After an agreement with the Ukrainian authorities, corridors will be created so that the civilian population can leave the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha during the ceasefire.
“Humanitarian corridors and exit routes are coordinated with the Ukrainian side,” it said.
“From 10 AM Moscow time, Russia declares a ceasefire and opens a humanitarian corridor so that civilians can leave Mariupol and Volnovakha,” the statement said.
Envoys from Russia and Ukraine met on Friday in Belarus and stated after the meeting that “an understanding had been reached on creating humanitarian corridors,” which aid organizations have also asked for.
The strategically important port city of Mariupol on the Azov Sea in southeastern Ukraine, which has about 450,000 inhabitants, is now surrounded by Russian forces and Russian-backed separatists, according to Mayor Vadym Boichenko.
The city is close to the front lines of the war in the Donbas, and there have been continuous attacks by Russian artillery in recent days. Supplies are no longer allowed in, and Boitshenko requested that a humanitarian corridor be established on Saturday.
“Currently, we are looking for solutions to the humanitarian issues and all possible ways to get Mariupol out of the blockade,” he wrote in a message on Telegram.
Volnovakha has around 25,000 inhabitants and is located in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. The city has been the subject of fierce fighting since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and, according to authorities, is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis.
1.2 million Ukrainians have fled the country since Russia invaded on February 24, but that may just be the beginning, the UN fears.
Up to 10 million Ukrainians may flee Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion, German migration expert Gerald Knaus believes.
“President Vladimir Putin’s war in Chechnya drove a quarter of the Chechens into exile,” Knaus told RND.
“A quarter of Ukraine’s population corresponds to 10 million,” he added.
Knaus bases his analysis on the way Russia is fighting, which has changed little since the war in Chechnya.
In the course of a week, as many Ukrainian refugees have reached the EU as during the entire war in Bosnia. The speed shows that we are facing the fastest and biggest refugee catastrophe in Europe since World War II, he noted.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
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