Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) France’s President Emmanuel Macron accused his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of hypocrisy and moral cynicism over his offer to allow humanitarian corridors from besieged Ukrainian cities that can lead only to Russia and Belarus.
After attempts at evacuating civilians from Mariupol and several other Ukrainian cities fell through on Saturday and Sunday, Russia again offered to secure a “humanitarian corridor” for civilians seeking to flee Mariupol, Kiev and other cities, but the proposed routes from the capital lead only into Russia and Belarus.
“I don’t know many Ukrainians who want to seek refuge in Russia”, Macron said in a TV interview on Monday. “That’s hypocrisy. Humanitarian actors need to be able to intervene so we must get full cease-fires when they intervene”, he declared. The issue would not be solved by “corridors which are being threatened right away.”
After Russia announced plans to allow civilians to be evacuated from Mariupol on Saturday, civilians reported that no ceasefire took place at the planned time. Instead, they said, Russian artillery continued its attacks along the evacuation route. As city authorities called on citizens to remain in their shelters and to make no attempts to leave the city, the Russian side accused the Ukrainian authorities of intentionally preventing their civilians from leaving.
An identical scenario was repeated on Sunday. Russian forces promised a ceasefire covering the city and the proposed corridors, which again, reportedly, was not observed. As a result, a mere 400 of the more than 100,000 civilians who planned to leave the city were able to evacuate.
Today, Kiev refused the Russian offer of humanitarian corridors leading to Belarus and Russia, prompting Russia’s chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky to again accuse Ukraine of “blocking humanitarian corridors for civilians”, and claiming that the refusal constituted a “war crime”.