Ukraine on March 7 rejected a Russian offer to create “humanitarian corridors” from six heavily bombed Ukrainian cities after it emerged that the routes would lead refugees directly to Russia or Belarus.
The proposed travel routes for people fleeing from Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mariupol, Volnovakha, and Mykolayiv that led directly to Russia or its ally Belarus raised questions over the safety of those who might use them.
Only two of the proposed routes would end up in Ukrainian territory.
Ukrainians should have the right “to evacuate to Ukraine,” a spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, describing the offer as “completely immoral,” according to The Guardian.
“[Russia] wants to supply humanitarian aid for pictures on TV, and wants the corridors to lead in its direction,” the spokesperson further said.
French President Emmanuel Macron accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “moral and political cynicism” and hypocrisy over the proposal.
“I don’t know many Ukrainians who want to seek refuge in Russia. That’s hypocrisy,” Macron said in an interview with French news broadcaster LCI.
Macron added that full ceasefires were needed to protect civilians, not corridors.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that Ukraine had sent a counter-proposal that would allow civilians from Kyiv to Kharkiv to flee to western Ukraine.
The Russian offer came before a third round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine on the Belarus-Poland border.
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