Conflicts & War

Russia announces ceasefire for civilians amid shelling of Ukrainian cities

Kyiv, Mar 7 (EFE).- Russia Monday continued shelling Ukrainian cities that killed eight civilians in the northeastern Kharkiv region even as Moscow declared a ceasefire to open humanitarian corridors from the besieged areas after two previous such attempts failed.

The Ukrainian authorities said the Russian military fired missiles and artillery shells towards Kharkiv and Sumy in the northeast and the port city of Odesa in the south on Monday, the 12th day of the invasion.

“The enemy continues its offensive against Ukraine. From the beginning of the day, the Russian occupier continued to carry out rocket-bomb and artillery strikes on settlements in Ukraine,” the Ukrainian military said in a Facebook post on Monday morning.

The military said Russian forces used the Belarusian airfield network to carry out airstrikes on Ukraine.

“Acting insidiously, the occupiers violate the rules of international humanitarian law, shell civilians, ‘green corridors,’ take women and children hostage, place equipment, ammunition in residential areas of cities, artificially create a humanitarian crisis in the occupied settlements,” the Ukrainian army said.

It said the Ukraine forces were resisting the attacks and had inflicted “heavy losses” on the Russian military.

Airstrikes hit several residential buildings near a military base in Kharkiv, where Russian troops entered eight days ago, said the emergency service in the besieged northeastern region.

At least eight people died in the bombings on Kharkiv residential areas, while the authorities rescued some 200, the emergency service said in a statement Monday.

At least 21 buildings caught fire in the central part of the city.

The fire also affected a music school, residential buildings, student dormitories, and a medical center.

The authorities said residents in Okhtirka of the Sumy region had “become hostages to Russian aggression.”

According to the authorities, a thermal power plant got destroyed as Russian planes also bombed warehouses storing food, construction materials, and parking lots for fuel trucks.

The Russian military also attacked the coastal Odesa region on the Black Sea in southern Ukraine.

Missiles damaged essential infrastructure, said Serhiy Bratchuk, the Odesa Regional Military Administration spokesperson.

The Russian troops also fired rockets on Mykolaiv that hit residential neighborhoods and suburbs of the southern town.

The attacks on Ukrainian cities continue to rage even as Russia announced a ceasefire that came into effect from 10 am on Monday to open humanitarian corridors from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Sumy, and Mariupol.

Russian agency Tass reported on Monday morning, citing Inter-Agency Humanitarian Response Coordination Center, that the ceasefire was declared “considering the catastrophic humanitarian situation and its dramatic deterioration in the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Sumy, and Mariupol.

The news agency said Moscow took the step at “the personal request by (French) President Emmanuel Macron” to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

However, France denied Macron had requested the ceasefire for humanitarian corridors.

An Elysee source said the president had neither requested nor obtained corridors to Russia after his telephonic conversation with Putin.

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