Russia to unilaterally open humanitarian corridors in Ukraine
The head of the Russian Defense Ministry's National Defense Control Center officially declares that humanitarian corridors toward Russia will be opened without Kiev’s approval.
Russia will be unilaterally opening humanitarian corridors for civilians to evacuate from Ukrainian cities on a daily basis despite the non-cooperation of the authorities in Kiev, Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry's National Defense Control Center (NDCC), confirmed on Thursday.
"We officially declare that humanitarian corridors toward the Russian Federation will be opened unilaterally, without any approvals, now daily from 10 a.m. [07:00 GMT], as well as in other directions upon coordination with the Ukrainian side. In areas controlled by the Russian armed forces, we guarantee complete security," Mizintsev announced at a briefing.
Russia will introduce a ceasefire from 07.00 GMT on Friday to allow the exit of civilians from Kiev, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkov, and Mariupol along several routes, the official added.
More than 187,000 people evacuated
According to the NDCC head, Russia has already evacuated more than 187,000 people, including 46,696 children, from the conflict zones of Ukraine without Kiev’s participation.
Mizintsev noted that more than 7,000 citizens from 21 states are being "held hostage" by Ukrainian militants. He said Russia has already received official appeals from those countries asking to save their compatriots.
"The Ukrainian side practically reacts neither to official nor to unofficial appeals, including those from international partners," the NDCC chief affirmed.
27,439 Ukrainians & foreigners applied to Russian authorities
During the past day, 27,439 Ukrainians and foreigners applied to the Russian authorities through various channels, requesting evacuation to Russia, Mizintsev estimated, adding that the overall total of such appeals exceeds 2.6 million.
On February 24, Russia began a special military operation in Ukraine after the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics requested help in defending themselves from intensifying attacks by Ukrainian troops.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the special operation is targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure only and the civilian population is not in danger.