Russia-Ukraine live updates: Kremlin troops’ shift away from Kyiv is not a de-escalation, U.S. warns


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Russia has declared a temporary humanitarian cease-fire in the besieged port city of Mariupol for Thursday, its defense officials said.

The cease-fire would begin at 10 a.m. local time and allow people to evacuate to the nearby city of Zaporizhzhia from Mariupol, which has so far borne the brunt of Russia’s invasion.

The cease-fire is “purely for humane purposes,” Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of Russia’s national defense control center, told a briefing Wednesday, the Interfax news agency reported. He said the humanitarian corridor would allow civilians and foreign nationals to leave the city — once home to about 446,000 people.

Russia said the cease-fire would begin once Ukraine had given Russia, along with the United Nations’ refugee agency and the International Committee of the Red Cross, written confirmation by 6 a.m. local time on Thursday that it would comply. It was unclear if Ukraine had done so. However, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk confirmed in a daily video update on Thursday that a cease-fire and evacuations were underway.

“Our soldiers have fully confirmed and guarantee a full cease-fire regime,” she said, confirming her awareness of the route form Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia, with a transit in the city of Berdyansk, about 50 miles southwest of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.

She said that Ukraine was sending 45 buses into Mariupol.

“We will do everything possible so that the buses arrive in Mariupol today and evacuate people who still haven’t managed to leave the city,” Vereshchuk said.

She added that two other humanitarian corridors have been agreed for Thursday to evacuate people from the cities of Melitopol and Enerhodar, both to Zaporizhzhia.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Kirill Timoshenko confirmed the cease-fire and evacuation routes in a Telegram post on Thursday. He said the humanitarian corridors would allow for the evacuation of people and the delivery of aid.

Russia said it had proposed that the humanitarian operation be carried out with the UNHCR and ICRC.

Annabelle Chapman and Amar Nadhir contributed to this report.

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