Kyiv: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday accused Russian troops of evacuating civilians through a humanitarian corridor agreed after talks with Moscow.
“There was an agreement on humanitarian corridors. Did that work? Russian tanks worked in its place, Russian Grads (multiple rocket launchers), Russian mines,” Zelensky said in a video posted on Telegram.
The Ukrainian leader said Russian forces mined the road chosen to bring food and medicine to the besieged city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine.
Accusing Moscow of “cynicism”, Zelensky also said Russian troops destroyed buses that were due to evacuate civilians from the combat zones.
“They ensure that a small corridor to the occupied territory is open for a few dozen people. Not so much towards Russia as towards the propagandists, directly towards the television cameras,” he said.
But Zelensky added that Kyiv would continue to negotiate with Russia to reach a peace deal.
“I m staying here, I m staying in Kyiv… I m not afraid,” he said.
The humanitarian situation worsened as supplies began to run short after Russia announced on Monday morning the creation of corridors to allow civilians to leave several besieged Ukrainian cities.
But Ukraine has refused to evacuate civilians to Russia because four of the six corridors proposed by Moscow lead to Russia or its ally Belarus.
Russia announced late Monday that a local ceasefire in Ukrainian cities including the capital Kyiv, Kharkov, Mariupol and Sumy would begin at 0700 GMT on Tuesday to facilitate the evacuation of civilians.
Moscow said the routes were still subject to Ukrainian approval.