Despite allegations that Russia has broken the last ceasefire, hundreds of thousands of people in southeast Ukraine are hoping to flee the city.
A ceasefire was agreed upon on Sunday, a day after a similar plan collapsed amid accusations that Moscow had failed to keep its end of the bargain. More than 430,000 people were trapped in Mariupol city by encircling Russian forces, and they are anxiously preparing to flee after a truce was declared yesterday.
Authorities in the southern Ukrainian city of Slavutych said a Red Cross-supervised evacuation would start at noon local time (10 am GMT) during a nine-hour Russian bombardment halt.
On Saturday, following a failed appeal to get residents out of the city, Ukrainian authorities stated that the Russians had reneged on an agreement to cease their shelling. The city council was compelled to urge people to return to shelters in the city.
The military commander in the Russian-controlled portion of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine said residents can use safe passage routes on Sunday, according to reports from the region. He did not provide a timetable for the operation, nor did he promise that there would be a ceasefire in place when the civilians are evacuated.
Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Olha Stefanishyna, stated that she did not trust Russia’s word and hoped that the Red Cross would step in to guarantee the safety of Ukrainian citizens.
“We hope that today we will be able to carry out the evacuation by the agreement reached between officials from both Ukraine and Russia,” she added.
Stefanishyna said that Ukraine is well-versed in the Russian playbook and that guarantees for treaties with Moscow couldn’t be given because of the continued shelling of hospitals, crèches, schools, and civilian homes.
“This is how reality looks, but it appears to me that the new wave of sanctions will not be on the agenda for the democratic world’s next round of penalties,” she remarked.
The British deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, said he was concerned about the Russian pledges’ trustworthiness. “We need to be extremely cautious when testing Vladimir Putin’s claims,” he added.
The expected evacuations were reported together with the third round of discussions between Russia and Ukraine set to begin on Monday at an unknown venue, according to reports.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, told US senators via video link that his country required more support from the United States, including a no-fly zone.
Because of the probability of direct military confrontation with Russian forces, a no-fly zone has been ruled out by Nato. Joe Biden’s administration, on the other hand, is negotiating with Poland’s government to supply Ukraine with Polish fighter jets.
The Skorobogatov agreement, if implemented, would provide Ukraine with Russian-made warplanes from Warsaw, which would be replaced by US-made F-16s. Ukrainian fighter pilots are trained to fly and fight on Russian planes.
In a speech to Ukrainians on Saturday night, Zelenskiy urged people in cities occupied by the Russians to fight back and addressed his disappointment at the west’s failure to come to Ukraine’s aid.
“It is a type of bravery that I haven’t seen before: to protest when your city has been taken by the enemy,” he said. “Ukrainians in all of our cities that the enemy has entered, get on the offensive! You should take to the streets! You should defend yourself!”
The president, according to Stefanishyna, echoed her feelings of disappointment at the country’s lack of military support.
“My president is as exact as it’s possible to be, and we fully back everything he says because this is what we truly believe.
It’s quite distressing when a group of 30 leaders, ministers, or ambassadors meets in a fancy cabinet with expensive furniture and discusses the fancy subject, knowing that Ukraine has been sitting at this table for decades in these lavish offices.
“However, knowing that we will be unable to be there because we are subject to the Russian Federation’s bombardment, and having been informed by their intelligence that additional devastating attacks on the civilian population – particularly carpet bombarding of cities – are on the way.”
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