Russia says it will halt hostilities to let civilians leave Azovstal

THE J POST:

Russia’s defense ministry said its troops would halt hostilities to allow civilians to leave the besieged steel plant Azovstal in Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol from 1400 Moscow time (1100 GMT) on Monday.

The ministry said any civilians trapped at the facility could leave in whichever direction they chose.

“Today, the Russian side once again announced the existence of a corridor for civilians to leave Azovstal. This could be believed if the Russians had not destroyed humanitarian corridors many times before,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“It is important to understand that a humanitarian corridor opens by the agreement of both sides. A corridor announced unilaterally does not provide security, and therefore is not a humanitarian corridor.”

She said Ukraine had “appealed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to be the initiator and guarantor of the humanitarian corridor from Azovstal for civilians.”

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