Day 10: Russia to continue broad offensive in Ukraine despite limited ceasefire
Iran Press TV
Saturday, 05 March 2022 11:21 AM
Russia says its forces vow to continue a broad offensive in the former Soviet state despite a limited ceasefire in two Ukrainian cities on the 10th day of a large-scale military operation.
Russia's RIA news agency cited the Russian defense ministry as saying on Saturday that its military units stopped firing and opened humanitarian corridors near the southern Ukrainian cities of Volnovakha and Mariupol, which had been encircled by Russian troops.
The news agency said citizens in Mariupol would be allowed to leave the port city during a five-hour window.
"Today, on March 5 at 10 a.m. (7:00 GMT) Moscow time, the Russian side declares a ceasefire and opens humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilians from Mariupol and Volnovakha," the Russian Defense Ministry was quoted as saying.
The ministry added that the humanitarian corridors and exit routes have been agreed upon with the Ukrainian side following reports of a catastrophic humanitarian situation in most of Ukraine as a result of the protracted conflict.
Ukrainian presidential aide Mikhail Podolyak, for his part, said that about 200,000 people are trying to evacuate from Mariupol, while "20,000 people also want to leave [the city of] Volnovakha [in the Donetsk region]."
There was no immediate confirmation that firing had stopped and it was not clear if the ceasefire would be extended to other areas, or how long it would last.
The Russian defense ministry, however, said a broad offensive would continue in Ukraine, with local media reports stressing that Russian forces had focused efforts on encircling the capital Kiev and Kharkiv, the second-biggest city, while aiming to establish a land bridge to the Crimean Peninsula.
The ceasefire declaration follows the Russian and Ukrainian sides earlier this week holding a second round of talks on ending the Ukraine crisis in a border area in Belarus, where the two specifically agreed on creating humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said late Friday that Moscow was waiting for a third round of talks with Ukraine in Belarus, and one of Kiev's negotiators said it hoped to hold them this weekend.
"The third leg could take place tomorrow or the day after, we are in constant contact," Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said Friday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said Russia must stop launching attacks on Ukrainian cities before more talks could take place.
In a televised address on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" aimed at "demilitarization" of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine.
Moscow has so far seized two key cities in its 10-day-long offensive, Berdiansk and Kherson on Ukraine's southern Black Sea coast.
Irish MP slams West's double standards on Palestine, Ukraine
Irish lawmaker Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit/Solidarity alliance censured the West's double standards on Palestine and Ukraine while speaking at the Irish parliament.
Barrett said the West looks at the Arab population, and the Palestinians as a whole, as an "inferior race."
The Irish lawmaker said the West does not use the same "strong and robust language" it uses for Ukraine to condemn the Israeli atrocities in Palestine and the regime's mistreatment of Palestinians.
"5 days sanctions against Putin..., 70 years of oppression by the Palestinians and it wouldn't be helpful to impose sanctions!" Barrett said.
The Western discrimination was also highlighted in a post on Twitter, which flashbacked to an incident where a Hungarian reporter was filmed tripping and kicking Syrian refugees at the border in 2015.
"Racism is part of the character of supremacist Europeans," the post said.
Syria: West responsible for protraction of Ukraine conflict
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said on Saturday that the responsibility for the continuation of conflict in Ukraine would rest with Western governments as the Russian military operation in the former Soviet state enters its 10th day.
"If the war in Ukraine prolongs, Western countries will bear the responsibility," Mikdad said in a news briefing in the Syrian capital of Damascus. "This prolongation means more waste of lives, capabilities, and the economy, and more crimes committed by the Westerners and NATO."
The top Syrian diplomat also warned that if the conflict in Ukraine continued, the people across the world would face further challenges.
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