Ukraine decries ‘immoral’ stunt after Moscow says it will let civilians flee — to Russia

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LVIV/IRPIN, Ukraine, March 7 (Reuters) – Moscow said on Monday it would let residents of Ukraine’s two main cities flee in corridors to Russia and Belarus, a move Ukraine called an immoral stunt to weaponise the suffering of civilians under Russian bombardment.

Both sides said a third round of talks was due at an undisclosed location in Belarus on Monday. Two previous rounds yielded little beyond pledges to open routes for humanitarian access that have yet to be successfully implemented.

Russia’s announcement of “humanitarian corridors” came after two days of failed ceasefires to allow civilians to escape the besieged city of Mariupol, where hundreds of thousands are trapped without food and water, under relentless bombardment.

According to maps published by the RIA news agency, the corridor from Kyiv would lead to Russia’s ally Belarus, while civilians from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second biggest city, would be directed to Russia.

Russia’s invasion has been condemned around the world, sent more than 1.5 million Ukrainians fleeing abroad, and triggered sweeping sanctions that have abruptly isolated Russia to a degree never before experienced by such a large economy.

Global share prices plunged on Monday after Washington said it was considering extending its sanctions to Russia’s energy exports, until now carved out from trade bans.

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