The Ukrainian government admitted on Monday “small progress” in the negotiations with Russia to open humanitarian corridors, after the last three attempts to evacuate the civilian population have ended in failure by the persistence of the Russian bombardments.
On the twelfth day of the invasion, Ukrainian and Russian delegations held a third round of negotiations in Belarus, near the Polish border, on political, military and humanitarian issues, including failed attempts to remove civilians from besieged towns such as Kiev, Mariupol or Kharkiv.
There are small advances in “improving the logistics of the humanitarian corridors”, indicated at the end of the meeting the adviser of the Office of the Ukrainian President, Mykhailo Podolyak, while the chief Russian negotiator, Vladimir Medinski, stated that “the expectations of the talks did not materialize”.
A few hours earlier, Ukraine had described Russia’s intention to open humanitarian corridors in the cities of Kiev, Khartov, Sumi and Mariupol but with the condition that these routes go to Russian territory. “On two occasions the Russians blocked the opening of humanitarian corridors by bombing the convoy route,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk wrote on her Telegram account in the morning. “Now that they can open the corridors, but they want the civilians to go to Russian territory, which is absurd, cynical and unacceptable“, he added, before asking his citizens to pay attention only to the information published by the Ukrainian authorities through official channels.
According to the Russian armed forces, a corridor will be opened from Kiev that will pass through the cities of Gostomel, will reach Chernobyl and the Belarusian town of Gden, to Gomel, also in Belarusfor the later delivery of displaced persons by air to the Russian Federation.
From Mariúpol the departure will be made in two ways: the first route is from Mariúpol to Rostov-on-Don, already in Russia, and then by air, rail and road transport to selected destinations or temporary accommodation points. The second would go from Mariúpol to Mangush, in the Donetsk basin.
The Kharkov route would reach Belgorod, already in the Russian Federation, until reaching the refugees by air, rail and road transport to selected destinations or temporary accommodation points; while from Sumi there would be two routes: the first to Belgorod (Russia) and the second to the Ukrainian town of Poltava.
With the help of drones
The Russian side has already informed the specialized agencies of the UN, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that it is opening these humanitarian corridors in Ukraine, according to reports. this Monday the Coordination Center for the Interinstitutional Humanitarian Response. “This information has been put to the knowledge of the specialized agencies of the UN, the OSCE, the ICRC and other international organizations through all available information resources, including the media,” the center said.
Evacuation control will be exercised with the help of Russian drones, he specified. “That is why we warn that all attempts by the Ukrainian side to deceive Russia and the entire civilized world that the humanitarian operation is supposedly interrupted because of the Russian Federation are useless and pointless this time,” the source said. .
The evacuation of the civilian population from the strategic port city of Mariupol, on the shores of the inland sea of Azov, failed this Sunday for the second consecutive day due to attacks by Russian forces in the area, according to the Ukrainian authorities, who have warned of the humanitarian disaster that the town is suffering. “The evacuation convoy with the local population could not leave Mariupol today: the Russians began to regroup their forces and heavily bombarded the city. It is extremely dangerous to take people out – about 200,000 civilians – in such conditions,” the Mariupol Mayor’s Office said on its official Telegram account.
He was also unable to reach the city in the southeastern ukraine convoy with 90 tons of humanitarian aid, which left in the morning for Mariupol from Zaporizhia, 227 kilometers east of the port city.
Mariupol has been completely blocked by Russian forces for a week and the mayor, Vadim Boychenko has stated on several occasions that the city was on the verge of a “humanitarian catastrophe”, as it was left without electricity, heating and water due to constant bombing by the Russian Army, he said. On Saturday, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) refugee workers in Mariupol with their families reported that a day earlier they collected “snow and rainwater to be able to drink.”
Doctors Without Borders workers report that a day before the evacuation they collected “snow and rainwater to drink.”
“It must be guaranteed urgently the safe passage of all those who wish and can escape from Mariupol and war-affected areas inside Ukraine, regardless of the existence of humanitarian corridors or ceasefires that may be temporarily established,” MSF said today.
Guarantees for the population
The new attempt to get the civilian population out of Mariúpol -which was going to be escorted by the Red Cross-, was frustrated after on Saturday both parties accused each other of having breached the agreed humanitarian ceasefire for the port city and Volnovaja, about 65 kilometers to the north, and where about 400 people could be removed on Saturday, according to the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that “Kiev still does not comply with the agreements reached in humanitarian matters”, while he again accused the Ukrainian nationalists of not allowing the evacuations of these two cities.
“Kiev still does not comply with the agreements reached in humanitarian matters.”
President of Russia
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stated that “it needs sufficient security guarantees to carry out its activities” at the time of starting to open the evacuation route in Mariupol and that it is ready to facilitate new attempts if the parties establish a detailed agreement that is then respected.
Meanwhile, the secretary of the Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, said today that Russia was preparing for the second wave of a large-scale offensive and that he did not lose hope of taking Kiev, where more than a thousand vulnerable people were evacuated today, according to the mayor, Vitaliy Klitchko.
The State Special Communications Service stated that Russian forces today continued their attacks against Irpin, Hostomel, Makariv, in the Kiev region, where there is “fighting”, being “the hottest point” on the Zhytomyr highway, 144 kilometers west of Kiev.
Russian forces heavily attack Irpin, Hostomel and Makariv in the Kiev region.
In Irpin, where the situation is critical, there were an evacuation during which Russian troops “opened mortar fire” and at least three people died, including two children, said the adviser to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko, in his Telegram account.
In Zhytomyr there was an airstrike in Korosten that destroyed ten houses, killed one person and injured five, including a child. According to the General Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Russian forces, with the support of aviation“focused basic efforts today on trying to surround the cities of Kiev (north), Kharkov (east), Chernigov (northeast), Mykolaiv (south), as well as on the front lines of the self-proclaimed breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.”
But Russia’s main attention this Sunday was directed at the southern regions, “in order to deprive Ukraine of access to the Black and Azov seas”, he added. “They did not create a land corridor with temporarily occupied Crimea,” he noted of Russia’s goal of linking east with south.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, stated precisely today that in the south Russia is preparing to bomb the port city of Odessaon the shores of the Black Sea.
“They are preparing to bomb Odessa. Odessa! The Russians have always come to Odessa. They have always felt only warmth in Odessa, only sincerity. Now what?”
President of Ukraine
“They are preparing to bomb Odessa. Odessa! The Russians have always come to Odessa. They have always felt only warmth in Odessa, only sincerity. And now that? Bombs against Odessa? Artillery against Odessa? Missiles against Odessa? It will be a war crime. It will be a historic crime,” he noted.
He also asked NATO again to close the sky over Ukraine, after eight Russian missiles completely destroyed an airport near Vinnytsia, in the west of the country. “Close it (the sky) for all Russian missiles, for planes, for all these terrorists. Make a humanitarian air zone without missiles, without bombs,” he reiterated.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.