DUBLIN (Reuters) – Russia has proposed the establishment of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to leave five Ukrainian cities including the capital Kyiv from 9 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on Tuesday pending Ukrainian agreement, Russian news agencies reported.
But most of the corridors would travel through Russia or Belarus, something Ukrainian authorities have rejected in the past. Civilians leaving the cities of Kyiv, Chernigov and Kharkiv would travel to Russia, some via Belarus, Interfax news agency reported, citing a statement by a Russian committee charged with humanitarian coordination in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has rejected earlier proposals to evacuate Ukrainian citizens into what he has described as “occupied territory” in Russia and Belarus. People leaving the city of Sumy and Mariupol would, however, be given a choice of passage to Russia or to Ukrainian cities Poltava and Zaporizhia respectively, Interfax quoted the statement as saying.
Ukraine has been given until 3 a.m. Moscow time (0000 GMT) to agree to the terms, Interfax said. The Ukrainian ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya told a U.N. Security Council meeting earlier that Russia had “undermined arrangements” for humanitarian corridors on Tuesday by insisting all routes would go through Russia or Belarus.