Mayor refuses Russian request to surrender
The Ukrainian government has agreed on an evacuation corridor for civilians fleeing the northeastern city of Sumy, which has come under sustained Russian attacks and airstrikes in recent days.
Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s minister for the reintegration of temporarily occupied territories, said the corridor had been approved by the Russian Defense Ministry in a letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The evacuation corridor route would lead from Sumy through Holubivka and Lokhvytsia to Poltava, a city in central Ukraine. It will open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tuesday, Vereshchuk said, adding that “all obstacles…must be removed along the way.”
“No other route has been agreed,” she said. “We call on Russia to immediately agree on these routes and ensure a stable ceasefire on these routes.”
She added that Ukraine hopes that the Sumy Corridor will be followed by others.
Bombardment in Sumy: The announcement comes after a Russian airstrike on a building in Sumy killed nine civilians, including two children, according to the State Emergency Services (SES) in Ukraine.
Several previous attempts to evacuate civilians failed earlier this week, with Western leaders accusing Russian forces of continuing to target pre-approved safe routes.
On Sunday, a Russian strike hit an evacuation crossing point outside Kiev, killing eight people, including two children who were trying to flee.
On Monday, Ukraine’s UN ambassador accused Russia of blocking attempts to evacuate civilians, adding it was “appalling” that Russian troops opened fire on evacuees after the two countries have assigned certain roads to be used as evacuation corridors.