Safe passage in Ukraine prevented by bombings

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In Ukraine, Russian forces continued to shell despite a proposal from Moscow to create safe routes for civilians.

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Monday that it was setting up at least 6 evacuation corridors after ceasefire attempts over the weekend failed. Routes depart from the capital Kiev, Kharkiv, Sumy and Mariupol. But evacuation attempts are hampered by ferocious bombardments for which Ukraine and Russia blame each other.

Officials in Moscow say there are 4 escape routes connecting Russia or its ally Belarus. Two other roads lead to places in Ukraine but fighting on the roads continues.
A senior Ukrainian official called the Russian proposal “completely immoral”.

Ukrainian and Russian negotiators held a third round of talks on Monday to try to end the fighting. Both sides said little progress had been made but negotiations would continue.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said: “The third round of negotiations is over. There have been some small positive changes in improving the logistics of the humanitarian corridors.

The head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, said: “Today we talked at length about the problem of the humanitarian corridors which were agreed last time but which were absolutely not working.”

Ukrainian officials say Russian forces are hitting civilian targets, including schools. Moscow says the Ukrainians ignored orders from their commanders to stop firing. The Kremlin has said it wants Ukraine to be demilitarized and neutral.

The two sides are also working on holding a high-level meeting. Turkey’s foreign minister said he would host talks between his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts on Thursday. The proposed meeting between Sergei Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba would be the first since the start of the Russian invasion.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are on the move as they seek shelter, trying to avoid further fighting.

Diana Berg, who fled the city of Mariupol with her husband on Friday for western Ukraine, said: “There was shelling everywhere when we left the city. People were horrified, people were left in dark old houses with no heat or water.

Berg says she worries about her loved ones and friends left behind. She said: “We don’t know if they are alive or if they are safe. I just want the international community and anyone who can hear me to do something.

An 11-year-old boy traveled a thousand kilometers on his own by train to reach Slovakia. His mother, who stayed behind to care for her sick mother, said: “I am grateful from the bottom of my heart to everyone who saved my son. Please save Ukrainian children.

The UN refugee agency says more than 1.7 million people have fled the country. More than half of them entered neighboring Poland. Others went to Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova and Romania.

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