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Russia declares ceasefire, evacuation corridors again lead to Russia, ally Belarus

Ukraine had rejected Russia’s first offer Monday as ‘completely immoral’, saying citizens should leave their homes through Ukrainian territory.

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New Delhi: Russia has declared ceasefire from 10 am Moscow time (IST 12.30 pm) Tuesday to provide “humanitarian corridors” for the safe evacuation of stranded Ukrainians and other foreign nationals in conflict-ravaged Ukraine.

Russia’s first attempt Monday to offer a safe passage to citizens had been rejected by Ukraine since all corridors led to Russia or its ally Belarus. Ukraine had declared as “completely immoral” Russia’s attempt to lead its citizens to Russian territory.

A spokesperson for President Volodymyr Zelensky had said Ukrainian citizens should leave their homes through Ukrainian territory.

Russia’s second attempt at creating human corridors seem to be going to Russia and Belarus as well.

An emergency statement of the Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine stated:… “from Kiev and adjacent settlements to the Russian Federation through the territory of the Republic of Belarus to Gomel city… from Chernigov through the territory of the Republic of Belarus to Gomel… from Sumy by two routes to Poltava and to the territory of the Russian Federation to Belgorod… from Kharkov to the territory of the Russian Federation to Belgorod… from Mariupol by two routes to the territory of the Russian Federation to Rostov-on-Don…”

India has raised the issue of stranded students in Sumy at the United Nations Security Council meeting on Monday. UN ambassador TS Tirumurti had said India was “deeply concerned that despite our repeated urgings” to both Russia and Ukraine, the “safe corridor for our students stranded in Sumy did not materialise”.

Both Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the failure of these human corridors. Ukraine condemned Russia for violating the ceasefire, with President Volodymyr Zelensky saying that Russia wanted to “use people’s sufferings to create a television picture”.

Russia slammed Ukraine for not allowing people to leave Mariupol on Monday, reiterating today that the “situation had acquired the character of a humanitarian catastrophe”.

The Russian statement read: “Due to the failure and inability of the Ukrainian side to ensure the functioning of humanitarian corridors, the situation in a large number of settlements on almost the entire territory of Ukraine, primarily in such cities as Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov and Mariupol, is rapidly deteriorating and has acquired the character of a humanitarian catastrophe.”

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to both Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin on Monday and underscored the importance of evacuating stranded Indian students from Sumy.

Here is the full statement on ‘human corridors’

In order to conduct a humanitarian operation:

➡️1. From 10:00 a.m. (Moscow time) on March 8, 2022, the Russian Federation declares cease-fire and is ready to provide humanitarian corridors:

from Kiev and adjacent settlements to the Russian Federation through the territory of the Republic of Belarus to Gomel city with delivery by air to the Russian Federation, in the southern direction – in agreement with the Ukrainian side;

from Chernigov through the territory of the Republic of Belarus to Gomel with delivery by air transport to the Russian Federation, in the southern direction – in agreement with the Ukrainian side;

from Sumy by two routes to Poltava and to the territory of the Russian Federation to Belgorod – then by air, rail and road transport to selected destinations or temporary accommodation, in the southern direction – in agreement with the Ukrainian side;

from Kharkov to the territory of the Russian Federation to Belgorod – then by air, rail and road transport to selected destinations or temporary accommodation, to Lvov, Uzhgorod, Ivano-Frankivsk – in agreement with the Ukrainian side;

from Mariupol by two routes to the territory of the Russian Federation to Rostov-on-Don through Novoazovsk and Taganrog cities, to Zaporozhye – in agreement with the Ukrainian side.

➡️2. This statement should be immediately brought to the Ukrainian side (Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk) proposed to coordinate the specified routes and the start time of humanitarian corridors by 03:00 a.m. (Moscow time) on March 8, 2022, and to submit written approval of these approaches, including guarantees to ensure security on the declared routes of humanitarian operations by the Ukrainian authorities to the Joint Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine by the specified time.

The Ukrainian side have to publish this statement in Ukrainian and Russian languages in Ukrainian media by 03:00 a.m. (Moscow time) on March 8, 2022.

➡️3. This statement (in Russian and English) should immediately be brought to the attention of the embassies of foreign states, relevant structures of the UN, the OSCE, the ICRC and other international organizations through all available information resources, including the media.

➡️4. The Ukrainian side should also inform, in accordance with the established procedure, about the planned humanitarian operation before 03:00 a.m. (Moscow time) on March 8, 2022, representatives of the embassies of foreign states, specialized structures of the UN, the OSCE, the ICRC and other international organizations located on the territory of Ukraine, through all available information resources, including Ukrainian media.

➡️5. For the purpose of implementation of measures for the evacuation of civilians and foreign citizens along agreed routes during the humanitarian operation, from 09:30 a.m. (Moscow time) on March 8, 2022, organize continuous communication between the Russian and Ukrainian sides for the mutual exchange of information on the preparation and carrying out the evacuation of civilians and foreign citizens.

➡️6. This emergency statement is subject to immediate publication and communication to all interested parties through all available information resources, including media.

▫️Due to the failure and inability of the Ukrainian side to ensure the functioning of humanitarian corridors, the situation in a large number of settlements on almost the entire territory of Ukraine, primarily in such cities as Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov and Mariupol, is rapidly deteriorating and has acquired the character of a humanitarian catastrophe.

▪At the same time, the Russian Federation provided full preparation and security on the planned routes during the previously announced humanitarian operations to evacuate civilians and foreign citizens.

▪Without the participation of Ukraine, the Russian side has managed to withdraw 173,773 people from the areas of the special military operation from the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, Ukraine to the Russian Federation territory, including 44,187 children, as well as 19,969 personal vehicles.

Currently, these citizens of Ukraine are in temporary accommodation centres, in hotels, sanatoriums and boarding houses, they are provided with hot meals, the children went to schools, kindergartens, issues of temporary employment are being promptly resolved. Despite the irresponsible attitude of the Ukrainian side to the life and health of ordinary civilians, including foreigners, the Russian Federation is ready for the next humane steps to withdraw the civilian population from all settlements that have been in a humanitarian catastrophe, as well as to create decent accommodation conditions in Russia for all refugees.

▪Taking into account the persistent continuous appeals of foreign embassies, as well as direct requests from Ukrainian citizens for evacuation from almost all settlements (such appeals only from March 5 to March 7, 2022 in the official structures of the Russian Federation and in the Joint Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine more than 2 million (2,000,417) have been registered, the Russian Federation is ready to prepare and conduct a humanitarian operation.

But its effectiveness depends only on the Ukrainian side. The key issues of preparing a humanitarian operation and ensuring the safety of the civilian population, as well as foreign citizens during their evacuation from settlements, where nationalists controlled by Kiev are taking all measures to prevent people leaving, are completely within the competence of the Kiev authorities.

Emergency statement of the Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine (March 7, 2022)


Also read: Why India can’t join in isolating Russia — Beyond stranded students, there’s Western hypocrisy


 

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