Ukraine refugees

Ukrainian civilians continue to flee from Irpin, a Kyiv suburb, on March 7, 2022 amid ongoing Russian attacks. The town's mayor said eight people, including a family of four, were killed by Russian bombardment on Sunday. (Photo: Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Ukrainians Reject 'Completely Immoral' Evacuation Corridors That Lead to Russia

"They are citizens of Ukraine, they should have the right to evacuate to the territory of Ukraine," a spokesperson for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy insisted.

Ukraine's government on Monday rejected what one official called a "completely immoral" Russian offer to allow civilians fleeing deadly bombardment to flee via "humanitarian corridors" leading not to safer Ukrainian destinations in the west and south but rather into Russia and Belarus to the east and north.

"I don't know many Ukrainians who want to take refuge in Russia."

Maps originally published by Russia's state-owned RIA news agency showed that the proposed humanitarian corridor from Kyiv would lead to Belarus--from which many Russian troops invaded Ukraine--while people fleeing Kharkiv, Mariupol, and Sumy would be given safe passage into Russia. The Russian offer came in response to a personal request from French President Emmanuel Macron.

A spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to "use people's suffering to create a television picture," according toReuters.

"They are citizens of Ukraine, they should have the right to evacuate to the territory of Ukraine," the spokesperson added.

Macron also blasted what he called the "moral and political cynicism" of the Russian proposal.

"I don't know many Ukrainians who want to take refuge in Russia," the French president toldLCI Monday. "It's hypocrisy."

Russia's proposal followed two days of failed ceasefire efforts meant to enable civilians to evacuate the Black Sea port city of Mariupol, where hundreds of thousands of residents have run out of food and water amid continued Russian besiegement and heavy bombardment. The number of civilian casualties there is unknown, but reportedly include an 18-month-old infant and a six-year-old girl.

Photos and video published Sunday showed Russian shelling of an evacuation point in the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, as well as the attack's bloody aftermath. The town's mayor, Oleksandr Markushyn, said eight civilians were killed, including a family of four.

"In front of my eyes, two small children and two adults died," he said.

On Monday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it had recorded 1,207 civilian casualties--406 killed and 801 injured--nationwide since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

"Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and missile and airstrikes," the agency said.

As of Sunday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that more than 1,735,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine had arrived in neighboring nations. The vast majority--more than one million people--had entered Poland, where some non-white refugees, many of them African and South Asian students, have reportedly suffered racist attacks and abuse at the hands of xenophobic locals.

UNHCR warned Monday that "in the coming days, millions more lives will be uprooted, unless there is an immediate end to this senseless conflict."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.