Ukraine, Russia fail to agree on refugee corridors

Kyiv said there had been "positive results" from the third round of negotiations, but Russia said its expectations from the talks were "not fulfilled".

March 08, 2022 03:25 am | Updated 03:25 am IST - Kyiv

Russian representatives speak to the media following the Russian-Ukrainian talks in Belarus’ Brest region on March 7, 2022.

Russian representatives speak to the media following the Russian-Ukrainian talks in Belarus’ Brest region on March 7, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

Ukraine and Russia made tentative progress in talks Monday but failed to reach a deal on creating "humanitarian corridors" from pummelled cities, as the bloodshed from Moscow's invasion mounted.

Kyiv said there had been "positive results" from the third round of negotiations, focused on giving civilians evacuation routes from besieged towns, but Russia said its expectations from the talks were "not fulfilled".

The comments dimmed hopes of a respite for terrified civilians who have been fleeing under a hail of shelling and mortar fire, with women and children among those who have been killed.

The bloodshed continued on day 12 of the war, with 13 people killed in shelling on an industrial bakery in the town of Makariv and the mayor of the town of Gostomel killed while delivering bread to civilians.

The invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin has pushed more than 1.7 million people across Ukraine's borders in what the UN calls Europe's fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II.

International sanctions intended to punish Moscow have done little to slow the invasion, and energy-hungry Western nations are still weighing up whether to ban Russian oil imports.

The conflict pushed oil prices to a near 14-year high, while gas prices also rocketed and stock markets around the world plunged over concerns about the effect on the global economy.

Ukraine had earlier rejected a Russian proposal for humanitarian corridors from the cities of Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mariupol and Sumy, as many of the routes led straight into Russia or its ally Belarus.

"This is not an acceptable option," Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who spoke to Russian president Vladimir Putin on Sunday, accused Putin of "moral and political cynicism" over the offer.

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