Russian forces said they will reopen the evacuation corridor from the besieged city of Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia on Friday. According to Ukrainian officials, the convoys ran into several issues on Thursday, including Russian troops confiscating aid and blocking buses.
Here’s what we know:
- The Russian Defense Ministry said the military will reopen the humanitarian corridor from the southern city of Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia on April 1 at the request of the leaders of France and Germany.
- The corridor will open from 10 a.m. Moscow time and Russian troops will set up an intermediate point in the southern city of Berdiansk, the ministry said.
- France said the evacuation corridor on Thursday was “insufficient” to allow rescue from Mariupol.
- Ukrainian minister Iryna Vereshchuk said about 100,000 civilians remained trapped in the city, which has suffered weeks of bombardment from Russian forces.
- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is preparing to facilitate the safe passage of civilians from Mariupol.
“It is desperately important that this operation takes place. The lives of tens of thousands of people in Mariupol depend on it,” the ICRC said.
Aid confiscated, buses stopped:
- Russian forces on Thursday confiscated 14 tons of humanitarian aid from buses bound for Melitopol in southern Ukraine, according to Vereshchuk, the Ukrainian minister of reintegration of temporarily occupied territories.
- Vereshchuk said the food and medication was loaded on 12 buses.
- Russian forces also blocked 45 buses going to Berdiansk on Thursday en route to Mariupol, she added.
- 1,458 people reached Zaporizhzhia in their own cars on Thursday, Vereshchuk said.
- 631 of them escaped from Mariupol.
- 827 were from Berdiansk, Enerhodar, Melitopol, Polohy, Huliapole and Vasylivka in the Zaporizhzhia region.