Kyiv sent 45 buses to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, after Moscow on Wednesday, 30 March, declared a partial ceasefire to allow civilian evacuations from Ukraine’s besieged port city.
The Russian defence ministry indicated that humanitarian corridors would be opened between Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia, via the Russian-controlled Berdiansk port, beginning 10 am (0700 GMT) on Thursday.
”For this humanitarian operation to succeed, we propose to carry it out with the direct participation of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross,” the ministry was quoted as saying by AFP.
Russia has also urged Kyiv to ensure "unconditional respect" for the ceasefire in a written submission to Russia, the UNHCR, and ICRC before 6 am (0300 GMT) on Thursday.
Moscow also asked the Ukrainian army to commit to ensure the security of the bus convoys along the designated corridor.
3,00,000 Still Trapped in Mariupol
Mariupol, an instrumental port city between the independent states of Luhansk and Donetsk, and the Russian-controlled Crimea, has witnessed ceaseless Russian onslaught in the past few weeks.
On Wednesday, resuming its assault on the embattled city, Russian forces struck a Red Cross facility in Mariupol.
Despite a few evacuations taking place, over 3,00,000 people are still trapped in the port city, cut off from food and water supplies. The battle for Mariupol has turned into a war of attrition, with the Russians wreaking absolute destruction upon the city.
According to Presidential adviser Tetyana Lomakina, at least 5,000 people have been killed in in the encircled port city, who believes that the full extent of the loss may as very well be double that figure, AFP reported.
(With inputs from AFP.)