Ukrainians Using Their People as Human Shields -- says Russia
March 10, 2022
Let me underscore that a threat to civilians in Ukraine is posed not by Russian military who do not target civil infrastructure, but by Ukrainian radicals and neo-Nazis who hold population of several cities as hostages. Using civilians as a human shield, they do not let them exit cities even despite humanitarian corridors and ceasefires arranged by the Russian forces. This can be proven by numerous examples.
On 4 March, Russian Defense Ministry and Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister I.Vereshchuk negotiated parameters of humanitarian corridors from Mariupol to Zaporozhye and from Volnovakh to Denepropetrovsk. They should have opened at 10 am on 5 March. As requested by Kiev, representatives of the ICRC were invited to the areas of humanitarian passages. The Russian side was ready to render comprehensive assistance to maintain security during the evacuation. We informed the UN Secretariat about that in due course.
However the Ukrainian radicals who were in Mariupol violated this agreement. As we take it from an intercepted communication of two commanders of the Azov battalion, the radicals in Volnovakh received an order to kneecap those heading towards humanitarian corridors. Those who dared to leave Mariupol at their own peril and risk, were shot by Ukrainian Nazis at checkpoints when trying to exit the city. Again, there is plenty of video evidence proving this.
By our records, 200 thousand civilians are trapped in Mariupol alone and held at gunpoint by the Azov battalion. The humanitarian situation in cities deteriorates rapidly. As for humanitarians who are ready to help, they cannot get in there and prevent the unfolding disaster. People in other regions of Ukraine that have been blocked by nationalist battalions find themselves in the same desperate situation.
Ukrainian radicals show their true face more distinctly by the day. Locals reports that Ukraine's Armed Forces kicked out personnel of natal hospital #1 of the city of Mariupol and set up a firing site within the facility. Besides, they fully destroyed one of the city's kindergartens.
In addition to this, the Ukrainian side strongly refuses to cooperate with regard to evacuation of civilians from Kharkov and Sumy.
Taking into account the deplorable humanitarian situation and its steep deterioration in Kiev, Kharkov, Sumy, and Mariupol, and also following a personal request of President of France E.Macron to President of Russia V.Putin, Russian Armed Forces announced that at 10.00 am on 7 March 2022, a ceasefire would start and humanitarian corridors from Kiev, Mariupol, and Sumy would open to facilitate exit both to the territory of Russia (for those who would like to use this logistically reliable route), and to the territory of Ukraine.
Yesterday evening, this information was communicated to Kiev, specialized mechanisms of the UN, OSCE, ICRC and other international organizations via all available information resources, including Mass Media.
We only received Kiev's official response at 07:10 am Moscow time, and it ignored the humanitarian corridors to Russia. Deputy PM of Ukraine I.Vereshchuk elaborated on this in an official statement, calling the proposal to open humanitarian passages leading to Russia "absurd and unacceptable".
While saying that Ukrainian civilians cannot be evacuated to Russia, Ukrainian officials ignore the fact that Ukrainian refugees are already present in Russian regions. More than 168,000 people have been evacuated to Russia from the areas of the special military operation, including 43,469 children. Over the past 24 hours, the total of 5,550 people have been evacuated, including 740 children.
19 256 personal vehicles have crossed the state border of the Russian Federation, including 900 personal vehicles over the past 24 hours.
We organize temporary accommodation facilities, all of them are ready to engage individually with civilians arriving from Ukraine.
Undermining of evacuation of civilians via humanitarian corridors is a violation of Article 75 of the mentioned Additional Protocol, whereas tortures of Russian prisoners of war, footage of which is published on social media, infringes Article 14 of 1949 Geneva Convention which directly stipulates respect for the personality and dignity of prisoners of war under any circumstances.
Colleagues, I call you to give a proper assessment to these blatant cases. We expect the UN leadership to do the same. Otherwise you only encourage Ukrainian radicals and neo-Nazis to commit further crimes.