Ukraine accuses Russia of breaking agreement on evacuations

United Nations, Mar 7 (EFE).- Ukraine on Monday at the United Nations accused Russia of breaking an agreement reached in the last few hours to facilitate the evacuation of civilians from several cities later this week, saying that Moscow once again demanded that the humanitarian corridors it said it was willing to establish lead only to Russian or Belarusian territory.

Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya, said during a UN Security Council session that moments before he had received notification from Kyiv saying that Moscow has reneged on its commitments.

According to Kyslytsya, Russian authorities reissued a letter saying that they would only allow Ukrainian civilians to evacuate to Russia or Belarus, despite the fact that just a little earlier they had agreed to establish an alternative route.

“I call on the Russians to reverse themselves and return to what was previously agreed, to allow Ukrainian and foreign citizens to go to Europe,” the diplomat said.

When it was the turn of Russia’s ambassador to the international organization, Vasily Nebenzia, to speak, he contradicted his Ukrainian counterpart and said that it was Kyiv authorities who did not want to allow civilians to evacuate, adding that his country had given the green light to corridors so that civilians could move toward western Ukraine, as well as to Russia and Belarus.

The exchange came after a third round of negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv ended on Monday with little progress on improving the logistics of those corridors, according to Mykhailo Podolyak, the advisor to the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The latest round of negotiations between the two warring countries occurred in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, in Belarus’s Brest region, near the Polish border, just like the second round, which was held on March 3.

In addition, the talks were held after on Monday for the third consecutive time scheduled evacuations were unable to be conducted due to violations of the humanitarian cease-fire announced by Russia, a situation for which each side blamed the other.

Chief Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky, meanwhile, said that Moscow hopes that the humanitarian corridors can begin being used on Tuesday morning.

“We said it clearly. We hope that tomorrow these corridors will finally begin operating. The Ukrainian side has given us guarantees regarding this,” he said, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.

EFE mvs/fjo/laa/bp

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