Ukraine raises ‘absurd’ demands on corridors to evacuate civilians, Moscow says
The process of establishing humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from the combat zones has proven to be extremely painstaking, with the Ukrainian authorities rejecting Russia’s proposals and raising “absurd” demands, Russian Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of the National Defense Management Center said on Wednesday.
“Russia, driven solely by humanitarian goals, has reached Kiev with yet another initiative to open today ten humanitarian corridors and evacuate civilians and foreign nationals from Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov and Mariupol,” Mizintsev stated.
Kiev approved only three of the proposed routes, coming up with another three alternative passages, the official added. Moscow has greenlit the alternative routes immediately.
Ukraine has firmly rejected the evacuation routes leading to Russia, Mizintsev stated. Without any cooperation from Kiev, Moscow has evacuated nearly 180,000, including more than 45,000 children into its territory since the beginning of the ongoing conflict. Ukraine has also tabled “absurd” and unreachable demands for certain corridors, he said.
“The Ukrainian side has put forward absurd and obviously unrealistic demands: for instance on one of the corridors to carry out mandatory demining of explosive devices installed by [Ukrainian] nationalists, and on the other one – to fix a road bridge destroyed by Ukrainian military during its retreat,” Mizintsev explained.
Moreover, Ukrainian forces continued “constant” artillery and mortar fire in the areas where the corridors were expected to be opened, including on those routes approved by Kiev itself, the official added.
The ongoing conflict broke out in Ukraine late in February, when Moscow launched a large-scale offensive in the neighboring country. The “special military operation” was the only option left to protect the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics from Kiev’s attacks, Russian President Vladimir Putin explained at the time, outlining the goals of “denazification” and “demilitarization” of Ukraine as well.
Ukraine, however, has branded the attack “unprovoked,” claiming it had not been seeking to re-conquer the republics. Donetsk and Lugansk split from Ukraine back in 2014 following the Maidan coup, which ousted Ukraine’s democratically-elected government, with the new Kiev authorities launching what they called an “anti-terror operation” to quell the breakaway regions. The operation has ultimately resulted in years-long violence in Ukraine’s east.