Ns News Online Desk :Russian troops will halt hostilities around the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol to allow civilians to leave the industrial area that has been sheltering the remaining Ukrainian resistance in the port city, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Monday.
From 2 p.m. Moscow time (11 a.m. GMT) on April 25, Russian troops will “unilaterally stop any hostilities, withdraw units to a safe distance and ensure the withdrawal of civilians,” the ministry said in a statement.
It said the civilians will be taken “in any direction they have chosen.”
It added that the Ukrainian side should show “readiness” to start the humanitarian evacuations “by raising white flags” at Azovstal.
According to the ministry, this information will be communicated to those inside Azovstal “via radio channels” every 30 minutes.
‘Ukraine has no deal on Mariupol evacuation’
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshschuk later said Kyiv has not reached an agreement with Moscow on establishing a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from the southern city of Mariupol.
“It is important to understand that a humanitarian corridor opens by the agreement of both sides. A corridor announced unilaterally does not provide security, and therefore is not a humanitarian corridor,” Vereshchuk said on the Telegram messaging app.
Russia last week said it had gained full control of the strategic eastern Ukrainian city, except for its huge Azovstal industrial area. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a blockade of the steelworks, where hundreds of civilians are reportedly sheltering with Ukrainian troops.
Russia intends to discuss issues related to the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and its Azovstal plant in talks with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who will visit Moscow this week, RIA cited the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying on Monday.
Guterres will meet Putin and then head to Ukraine for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the U.N. said on Saturday.