Lavrov: Mariupol authorities obstructing humanitarian corridors
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia is doing everything in its power to ensure the work of humanitarian corridors.
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed Saturday that there is information that the Mariupol authorities are refusing to give residents the opportunity to pass through the humanitarian corridor.
Earlier Today, Russia declared a ceasefire for civilians to evacuate from the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, the Russian Defense Ministry stated.
"Today, on March 5, starting at 10 a.m. Moscow time [07:00 GMT], Russia is declaring a ceasefire and humanitarian corridors are opening for civilians to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha," the Ministry said.
According to Lavrov, "In general, one gets the impression, based on this and some similar episodes, that the Ukrainian regime is not averse to holding foreigners and other civilians hostage."
The Minister expressed that Russia has demonstrated its willingness to provide humanitarian corridors for civilians and foreign citizens.
The Russian Defense Ministry stated that none of the expected 200,000 refugees from Mariupol or 15,000 from Volnovakha used humanitarian corridors.
However, it noted that despite the massive disruption of the humanitarian operation, it is still willing to work with Ukraine to solve the crisis.
The Ministry also stated that Ukraine is reportedly rejecting Russia's proposals to open corridors in Kharkiv and Sumy.
Earlier, the President of the Donetsk People's Republic, Denis Pushilin, announced that the forces in the city of Mariupol are completely surrounded, calling on the Ukrainian nationalists there to lay down their arms and surrender.
Days ago, the Deputy Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Eduard Basurin told the Rossiya-24 TV channel that civilians are being prevented from leaving the Ukrainian city of Mariupol through a humanitarian corridor.
He added that Mariupol is still under the control of the Ukrainian army and forces, and the Russian armed forces are encircling the city and "eliminating the Nazi groups present in it."
The statement added that the systematic bombardment affected residential homes, injuring 11 people, including three children.
Zelensky upset by lack of NATO involvement
The Russian Foreign Minister also expressed that the Ukrainian President is attempting to provoke a conflict between Russia and NATO.
During the briefing, Lavrov asked, "If he [Zelensky] is so upset that NATO did not step up for him as he hoped, it means that he did hope for the conflict's resolution though the involvement of NATO in this whole affair, rather than by negotiating."
The Minister added that "it turns out that he doesn't hear the constant assertions coming from Washington, Paris, Berlin and other capitals that NATO is not going to intervene in this conflict. And it turns out that he is seeking to provoke a conflict involving NATO, between NATO and Russia."
Regarding the next round of talks, he stated that Russia was waiting for Ukraine on the next round.
Lavrov described the situation to reporters as "strange", emphasizing that "Ukraine, which seems to be the most interested party in this, is constantly coming up with pretexts to delay the beginning of a new meeting."