Russia announces opening of 6 humanitarian corridors
Russian Defense Ministry says it provided detailed information about safe passages to Ukraine, UN, OSCE, Red Cross
The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Monday it is opening six humanitarian corridors and halted hostilities from 10 a.m. Moscow time (0700GMT) to let civilians leave battle areas.
One corridor will be opened from the capital Kyiv to the city of Gostomel, two from Mariupol to Ukraine's city of Zaporizhzhia and Russia's city of Rostov-on-Don, ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said at a daily briefing in Moscow.
Two more safe passages will connect the city of Sumy with the Ukrainian city of Poltava and the Russian city of Belgorod, also the city of Kharkiv with Belgorod.
Konashenkov added that the detailed information about humanitarian corridors was provided to the Ukrainian leadership as well as the relevant bodies of the UN, International Red Cross, and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
"While humanitarian corridors are opened, the armed forces of the Russian Federation will carry out continuous objective control of evacuation with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles," he noted.
Konashenkov also said the Ukrainian nationalists continue using civilians as a human shield.
"Yesterday (Sunday), at about 17 o'clock Moscow time (1400GMT), on the Victory Avenue of Mariupol, the Donetsk servicemen clashed with a unit of Ukrainian armed nationalists. The militants were pushing more than 150 civilians in front of them as a 'human shield,' hiding behind them.
"Having found the fighters of the People's Militia, the Ukrainian nationalists opened fire from behind the backs of civilians. As a result of the shooting by the Ukrainian Nazis, 4 civilians were killed and 5 wounded," Konashenkov said.
According to the spokesman, 16 more settlements fell under the control of the Russian military and rebel forces of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Sunday evening, Ukraine's three Su-27 and one Su-25 fighter jets, two Mi-24 helicopters, eight unmanned aerial vehicles, three air defense systems, and two radar stations were shot down, he said.
"In total, 2,396 objects of the military infrastructure of Ukraine were destroyed during the operation. Among them 82 control and communication centers of the Ukrainian armed forces, 119 air defense systems S-300, Buk M-1 and Osa, and 76 radar stations.
"Also, 827 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 84 multiple rocket launchers, 304 field artillery and mortar guns, 603 units of special military vehicles, as well as 78 unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed," he added.
After two rounds of peace talks, Russia and Ukraine had agreed to establish humanitarian corridors in Mariupol.
However, no civilian was able to use them, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, because the Ukrainian nationalists did not allow anyone to leave, while the Ukrainian Security Service said it was because Russia did not stop hostilities across Ukraine.
Commenting on Monday's statement by the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk opposed opening humanitarian corridors, saying: "The talks should continue, but not between the militaries."