Russia announces a cease-fire and 'humanitarian corridors' in 2 besieged cities, but Ukrainian officials say it is being ignored
- Russian media outlets report that the Russian military has announced a cease-fire in Mariupol and Volnovakha.
- In Mariupol, the deputy mayor told the BBC that shelling had continued.
The Russian Defense Ministry has reported a cease-fire in two besieged Ukrainian cities to allow citizens to leave, according to Russian media. But it quickly appeared to break down with Russian bombardments continuing.
"Today, on March 5, a cease-fire is announced from 10:00 am Moscow time (8 a.m. GMT, 3 a.m EST), and humanitarian corridors are opened for the exit of civilians from Mariupol and Volnovakha," the ministry said in a statement from Russian news agency Tass news.
However, reports from Ukrainian officials say the cease-fire was not being observed and the evacuation from Mariupol had been postponed with negotiations still underway.
"The Russian side is not holding to the cease-fire and has continued firing on Mariupol itself and on its surrounding area," said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office, according to AP.
"This is one of the main tasks for today. Let's see if we can go further in the negotiation process."
"The Russians are continuing to bomb us and use artillery. It is crazy," Serhiy Orlov, Mariupol deputy mayor, told the BBC. "Right now I'm in Mariupol, I'm on the street. I can hear shelling every three to five minutes," one resident told the BBC.
AP reports that the Ukrainian military has not officially recognized the cease-fire.
The Mariupol City Council had released a statement on their official Telegram channel acknowledging the news of the cease-fire and the humanitarian corridor, but warning of its legitimacy.
Earlier, the Mariupol mayor, Vadim Boychemko, issued a statement saying: "Dear Mariupol residents, the evacuation of civilians in the city starts today. This is a difficult decision, but, as I have always said, Mariupol is not about streets and houses.
"Mariupol is its inhabitants. We are with you. And our main task has always been and remains to protect people. In conditions when our hometown is constantly under relentless fire from the occupiers, there is no other solution than to allow the residents, that is, you and me, to safely leave Mariupol."
In the statement, the city issued a "huge request" for drivers leaving the city to assist with the evacuation, which was to take place up until 16:00 Moscow time (2 p.m. GMT, 9 a.m EST).
There are no reports on whether the cease-fire was holding in Volnovakha.
The Russian offensive will continue throughout the rest of Ukraine.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.
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