Russia declared a partial ceasefire on Saturday (Mar 5) to allow humanitarian corridors out of the Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, Russia's defence ministry said. "From 10am Moscow time (7am GMT), the Russian side declares a ceasefire and the opening of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha," it said.
Later on Saturday, Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said there would be further agreements with Russia on establishing humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from frontline communities. "There will definitely be more agreements like this for all other territories," he said, referring to the evacuation plan for the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.
The announcement of the humanitarian corridors comes after Mariupol's mayor Vadim Boychenko said on Saturday that the city was under "blockade" by Russian forces after days of "ruthless" attacks. While laying siege to Mariupol for days, Russian forces have cut its electricity, food, water, heating and transportation in the depths of winter, prompting comparisons to the Nazi blockade of Leningrad in World War II.
"For now, we are looking for solutions to humanitarian problems and all possible ways to get Mariupol out of the blockade," said Boychenko, calling for a ceasefire and a humanitarian corridor for food and medicine. Since President Vladimir Putin's army invaded on Feb 24,
Russia has pummelled Ukrainian cities, killed hundreds of civilians and assaulted Europe's largest atomic power plant. The invasion has drawn condemnation and severe sanctions from Western nations balancing punishment of the Kremlin with fears of a hazardous escalation.