Moscow, Jun 14 (EFE).- Russia’s defense ministry on Tuesday announced it would open a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of around 500 civilians from the Azot chemical plant in Ukraine’s Severdonetsk.
Head of Russia’s National Defense Control Center, Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev said in a statement that the Ukrainian army must approve the operation and “raise a white flag.”
The corridor, set to open on Wednesday from 8.00 am for 12 hours, will allow civilians to leave the facility in Severdonetsk in the eastern Luhansk region toward Russian-controlled Svatove city.
“The safe evacuation of all civilians, without exception (…) is guaranteed,” Mizintsev said.
Some 40 children are among the civilians in the plant, according to Ukrainian authorities.
The defense ministry pointed out that Kyiv had requested opening a humanitarian corridor to the city of Lysychansk, bordering Severodonetsk and currently under the control of the Ukrainian army.
But Mizintsev explained that the Ukrainian army had blown up the last bridge that connected Severodonetsk to Lysychansk across the Siverskyi Donets River.
Kyiv accused the Russians of destroying all three bridges leading into Severodonetsk.
Mizintsev also went on to say that Ukrainian soldiers have held out in Azot with hundreds of civilians to use them as “human shields.”
For this, Mizintsev urged the Ukrainian military and the fighters holed up in Azot to halt all military action, allow the evacuation of civilians, stop the “useless resistance” and lay down their arms.
Azot is the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in Severodonetsk, the last key city in Luhansk that is still at least partially controlled by the Ukrainian army.EFE