Hours after Western media outlets were filled with images and accounts of Ukrainian refugees being killed and wounded by Russian attacks, Russia called for a partial ceasefire that would have allowed for sending Ukrainian refugees to Russia or its ally Belarus.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense said Monday it was opening what it called humanitarian corridors at the behest of the French, according to NBC. Three of the escape routes led to Belarus or Russia. This would be the third attempted ceasefire after Russia shattered the first two.
Ukraine rejected the proposal.
Russia is organizing propaganda corridors, not humanitarian ones,” Ukraine presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said, according to NBC.
“Let’s call a spade a spade,” he said, noting how on Sunday Ukrainian civilians were killed “as they tried to leave the besieged or captured cities.”
French President Emmanuel Macron called Moscow’s offer of humanitarian corridors to Russia for Ukrainian civilians “hypocrisy.”
“Humanitarian actors need to be able to intervene so we must get full cease-fires when they intervene,” Macron said. https://t.co/Xeij9dTskv
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 7, 2022
Ukraine’s vice prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said Ukraine wants residents of besieged cities to be allowed to go to western Ukraine.
“Our people won’t go to Belarus and to Russia,” she said, calling the Russian proposal “unacceptable.”
“Instead of humanitarian corridors, they can only make bloody ones,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday, according to CBS. “Today a family was killed in Irpin. Man, woman, and two children. Right on the road. As in a shooting gallery.”
In a video address, Zelensky said that on a day Orthodox Christians call Forgiveness Sunday, Ukraine will neither forgive nor forget shelling that killed civilians.
“And God will not forgive, either today or tomorrow — never. And instead of a day of forgiveness, there will be a judgment day. Of this I am sure,” he said, according to a CBS report headlined “Russia announces limited ceasefire and opening of several civilian evacuation corridors.”
Putin’s military “strategy” seems to be just total destruction of Ukraine, including slaughtering of innocent civilians. Just appalling. He must someday be held accountable.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) March 6, 2022
Alexandar Markushin, the mayor of Irpin, a Kyiv suburb, was a witness to civilians’ dying as they tried to flee, according to The Washington Post.
“The shell hit, and in front of my own eyes died two small children and two adults,” he said. “I want to emphasize these were peaceful residents.”
The Russian call for a ceasefire came after the failure of ceasefires to allow civilians to evacuate Mariupol, in the south of Ukraine, in which an estimated 200,000 people are trapped as Ukraine refuses to capitulate to Russian forces that have surrounded it.
“We saw everything: houses burning, all the people sitting in basements,” said Yelena Zamay, who fled to a Russian-held part of Ukraine, according to The Associated Press. “No communication, no water, no gas, no light, no water. There was nothing.”
Amid allegations of potential war crimes against Russia, Russia’s defense ministry lobbed one back at Ukraine, claiming Ukraine planned to destroy an experimental nuclear reactor at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology and blame it on Russia.
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