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Ukraine slams Moscow’s humanitarian corridors to Russia as ‘absurd’

Russia’s humanitarian corridors are “absurd, cynical and unacceptable,” a Ukrainian official said Monday, after Moscow announced a temporary ceasefire on Monday to allow Ukrainians to flee Russia’s attacks — as long as they head to Russia or its ally Belarus.

“The Russians are saying that they can open the corridors, but they want the civilians to leave for the Russian territory, which is absurd, cynical and unacceptable,” Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, said on her Telegram channel. She added that Russia had twice “blocked the launch of the humanitarian corridors by shelling the route of the humanitarian convoys.” A mother and two children were among those killed by Russian mortar fire at a civilian evacuation route in Irpin, near Kyiv, over the weekend.

Russia announced new “humanitarian corridors” on Monday to allow civilians trapped in some of the worst-hit cities in the country — Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy — to flee the fighting.

But according to maps published by the Kremlin-backed RIA news agency, the corridor from Kyiv would lead to Belarus or Russia, while civilians in Kharkiv would have to go to Russia.

Ukrainian press reported that the Ukrainians have suggested alternative routes, as shelling continues in Irpin and the southern city of Mykolaiv, according to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Russia’s invasion has already forced at least 1.5 million civilians to flee Ukraine, the UN Refugee Agency said Sunday.

The news comes as the U.N.’s International Court of Justice on Monday began hearings into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. During the hearings, Kyiv will argue that Russia has falsely applied genocide law to justify its invasion, and will seek an emergency order for the war to stop. Moscow has not sent a legal representative to the hearings, Reuters reports.

A third round of ceasefire negotiations between Russia and Ukraine is expected to take place on Monday, with few expectations of a breakthrough.

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