Offensive in Ukraine resumes after ceasefire – Russia
The Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday that offensive operations in Ukraine would resume from 18:00 Moscow time “due to the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to influence the nationalists or extend the ceasefire.”
“Not a single civilian was able to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha along the humanitarian corridors. The nationalist battalions took advantage of the ceasefire to strengthen their positions,” the statement said.
At the request of the Ukrainian side, a ceasefire was called in the area around the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, with a complete halt in hostilities imposed to ensure the evacuation of the civilian population.
“Not a single civilian could get out along the designated humanitarian corridors. The population of these cities is held by Ukrainian nationalists as a ‘human shield’,” however, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Ukrainian officials halted the evacuation, accusing Russia of continued shelling despite its promises it would ensure safe passage.
Russian forces are blockading Mariupol, which has been held by Ukraine. Moscow recognizes the city as part of the Donetsk People’s Republic, which broke away from Ukraine shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev.
Moscow launched a full-scale offensive in the country last week, arguing that it had to “defend” the Russian population of the breakaway Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, as well as “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine. Kiev said the invasion was unprovoked and appealed to the international community for help.
Ukraine has accused Russian forces of shelling residential areas in several regions, including the capital Kiev and other major cities. Moscow insists it is targeting only military infrastructure.