Ukraine has rejected a proposal from Moscow to allow a humanitarian corridor leading to Russia and Belarus.
Russia’s Defense Ministry had offered to open a corridor for safe passage away from the fighting in Kiev.
Iryna Vereshchuk, a Ukrainian vice prime minister, held a televised briefing saying that the proposal was unacceptable because it only allowed people to travel to Russia or Belarus. Instead, they want people to be able to take trains from the Kiev and Kharkiv areas to western Ukranian cities, and from Mariupol north to Zaporizhzhia.
“This is an unacceptable option of humanitarian corridors. Our people from outskirts of Kyiv won’t go to Belarus and then to Russia,” Vereshchuk said, according to a report from ABC News.
Vereshchuk added that they had delivered a counter-proposal to Moscow about how the corridors should be organized.
“Humanitarian aid is prepared for a number of towns in the east and south. We ask Russia to confirm these corridors and provide ceasefire,” Vereshchuk continued.
The Red Cross, which is assisting with evacuations, has said that they are having difficulty because the current routes for safe passage are unclear.
Russia’s corridor proposal was made after Russian President Vladimir Putin had a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron.
“I hope president Macron understands that his name and good intentions are manipulated by Russia,” Vereshchuk said of the reports that they spoke about the issue.
Macron has since responded during an appearance on French television, saying “I don’t know many Ukrainians who want to seek refuge in Russia. That’s hypocrisy,” according to a report from the Associated Press.
On Monday, the two nations held the third round of talks, but Mykhailo Podolyay, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy said that there had been little progress made on the issue of humanitarian corridors.
Over 1.7 million people have already fled Ukraine, according to reports.