LVIV/KYIV, Ukraine, March 7 (Reuters) – Russia announced new “humanitarian corridors” on Monday to transport Ukrainians trapped under its bombardment – to Russia itself and its ally Belarus, a move immediately denounced by Kyiv as an immoral stunt.
Both sides said a third round of talks were due at an undisclosed location in Belarus on Monday. Two previous rounds yielded little beyond pledges to open routes for humanitarian access that have yet to be successfully implemented.
Russia’s announcement of new corridors came after two days of failed ceasefires to let civilians flee the besieged city of Mariupol, where hundreds of thousands are trapped without food and water, under relentless bombardment.
The new “corridors” would lead from the capital Kyiv, the eastern cities of Kharkiv and Sumy, as well as Mariupol, Russia’s defence ministry said.
According to maps published by the RIA news agency, the corridor from Kyiv would lead to Belarus, while civilians from Kharkiv would be directed to Russia. Moscow would also provide an airlift from Kyiv to Russia, the ministry said.