Putin Agrees to Involve UN, Red Cross in Mariupol Evacuations

Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to involve the United Nations (UN) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in assisting civilian evacuations from Mariupol.

UN Chief Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that Putin agreed “in principle” to cooperate with UN and ICRC toward humanitarian efforts.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres met Putin Tuesday to discuss proposals for humanitarian assistance to civilians from conflict zones. Guterres pushed for humanitarian corridors and proposed the establishment of a Humanitarian Contact Group that will include Russia, Ukraine, and the UN “to look for opportunities for the opening of safe corridors, with local cessations of hostilities, and to guarantee that they are actually effective.”

Putin said that fighting in Mariupol had already stopped, and nearly 1,300 Ukrainian armed forces had surrendered. The president claimed that Russia has been providing assistance to over 100,000 people that had left Mariupol. He also said that Russia has been maintaining its contact with people underground at the Azovstal plant.

“You say that Russia’s humanitarian corridors are ineffective. Mr. Secretary-General, you have been misled: these corridors are effective,” Putin said to Guterres during their meeting.

UN said it had repeatedly appealed to Russia for ceasefire to allow humanitarian corridors, but no actions have been taken so far.

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