Ukraine hopes Russia will observe ceasefire to allow civilian evacuation

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister has urged Russia to "fulfill its obligations" and open humanitarian corridors

Published

Several humanitarian corridors out of Ukrainian towns and villages including from the besieged southern port of Mariupol will be open on Saturday so civilians can leave, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, adding she hoped Russia would observe a ceasefire to allow this to take place.

She said Ukraine plans to evacuate residents of several towns and villages in the regions of Kyiv and Sumy and some other areas where there is ongoing combat.

"I hope that the day will go well, all the planned routes will be open and Russia will fulfill its obligations to guarantee the ceasefire regime," Vereshchuk said in a video address.

Efforts to provide safe passage for residents of Mariupol have repeatedly failed this week.

At least 1,582 civilians in the southeastern city of Mariupol have been killed as a result of Russian shelling and a 12-day blockade, the city council said in an online statement on Friday. It was not possible to verify casualty figures.

Air raid sirens blared across most Ukrainian cities on Saturday morning urging people to seek shelters, local media reported, after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the war had reached a "strategic turning point".

Fighting raged northwest of Kyiv on Saturday, with the bulk of Russian ground forces 25 km (16 miles) from the centre of the Ukrainian capital, while several other cities were encircled and under heavy shelling, the UK Defence Ministry said.