Conflicts & War

First batch of civilians leave Ukraine’s Sumy through safe corridor

Lviv, Ukraine, Mar 8 (EFE).- The first batch of civilians Tuesday left the besieged city of Sumy after Ukraine and Russia agreed to open a humanitarian corridor, officials said.

Deputy President Kirill Timoshenko said the two sides agreed to establish the safe corridor for civilian evacuation and “the first stage of evacuation has begun.”

He posted a video of the first buses and private vehicles leaving the city of almost 270,000 inhabitants.

Regional administrative head Dmitro Zhyvytskyy also confirmed that “the first caravan of the civilians left the city at 9 am” local time.

The video showed a Red Cross vehicle escorting the evacuation cars and buses.

Zhyvytskyy said the second batch of vehicles would leave around 1 pm.

Earlier, Zhyvytskyy said he was working with the city officials to organize the evacuation.

“We join all forces and organize transportation,” he wrote, asking citizens to use their vehicles if they could to help family members leave the city.

The established route would transfer civilians from Sumy to Poltava, about 175 km to the south.

The Sumy humanitarian corridor comes a day after at least nine people, including two children, died in an overnight Russian airstrike on residential apartments in the northeastern city of Ukraine.

Russian planes “insidiously attacked apartment building” in the city on Monday night, the State Emergency Service said on its Telegram channel on Tuesday.

Rescue teams pulled out nine bodies from the rubble of the destroyed buildings.

Zhyvytskyy said the dead included two children.

He said the Russian planes bombarded civilian neighborhoods of Sumy, home to 200,000 inhabitants near the Russian border.

“What kind of war and what rules in general can we talk about when the Russian Army kills, destroys, drops bombs on civilians,” Zhyvytskyy said.

Separately, four civilians have died in Mykolaiv near the Black Sea in southern Ukraine.

Authorities said rockets fell in the city, sparking 11 fires in a residential neighborhood.

Tuesday was the 13th day of the Ukraine war. Russian troops started marching into Ukraine on Feb.24.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned on Sunday that the casualty figures it has reported are likely to be a considerable underestimate of the real numbers.

The rights agency said 1,123 civilian casualties in Ukraine have been verified as of Mar.5. These include 364 dead, including 25 children, and 759 injured.

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