Ukraine readies for 'relentless defence' of Kyiv

Air strike kills nine in Ukrainian city Sumy: rescuers

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Kyiv: At least nine people, including two children, were killed in an airstrike in the Ukrainian city of Sumy on Tuesday to establish a humanitarian corridor, authorities said.

The corridor from Sumy to Poltava was designed to evacuate civilians, including Chinese, Indians and other foreigners, but Ukraine’s deputy prime minister accused Russia of planning to disrupt the route.

The air strike in Sumy, near the Russian border east of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, took place late Monday, Ukraine’s rescue services said.

“Enemy planes insidiously attacked apartment buildings,” they said on Telegram after arriving on the scene at 11:00 pm.

Sumy, 350 kilometres (218 miles) east of Kyiv, has experienced heavy fighting for days, but no other details about the attack were immediately available.

Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, said the Russian defence ministry had agreed to start the corridor early Tuesday in a letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“We have information that the Russian side has planned to disrupt the corridors,” she added.

“Manipulations are being prepared to force people to take another route, which is not coordinated and dangerous,” the vice prime minister said.

The corridor is also designed to deliver food and medicine, she said.

The deputy prime minister said the first convoys should start at 10:00 am, an hour after Ukraine wants the ceasefire to begin, which will last until 9:00 pm.

She called on Russia to “urgently coordinate” humanitarian corridors from the cities of Vornovaka, Mariupol, Mariupol, as well as Kyiv, Kharkiv and surrounding areas.

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