Russian forces secure a safe passage for residents to leave Kiev
Russian military urged civilians to flee Ukraine's capital.
The Russian Defense Ministry has organized a safe passage for Ukrainian civilians fleeing Kiev: The passage allows Ukrainians to take the highway to Vasilkov, a city 20 kilometers southwest of the capital, according to a statement issued on Monday, adding that "this direction is open and safe."
The ministry added that Russia "only attacks military objects" and that the civilian population would be safe.
The call came on Monday as peace talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations in Belarus are set to begin. In a public address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that he has low expectations for the negotiations. He went on to say that his country has no intention of surrendering.
Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko told the Associated Press on Sunday that the city was completely surrounded by Russian troops, but later backtracked on the claim.
Previously, the Ukrainian government distributed firearms to civilians, released felons with military experience, and urged citizens to prepare firebombs to fight Russian troops.
Russia launched a special operation to demilitarize and Ukraine on Thursday, in response to requests from the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics for assistance in combating Ukrainian troops' aggression. The special operation is only targeting Ukrainian military facilities, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, and the civilian population is not at risk. Moscow has stated that it has no intention of occupying Ukraine.