Zelensky says Russian tanks attacked the Mariupol humanitarian corridor

Hundreds of thousands of civilians remained trapped in Ukrainian cities on Thursday, hiding from Russian bombs as talks between Ukraine’s foreign ministers and Russia’s foreign ministers appeared to have made little progress.

Mariupol residents searched for food and fuel as Russian forces continued their bombardment of the coastal city amid international condemnation of an air strike the day before that killed three people in a maternity hospital. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments.

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that about 100,000 people had evacuated the country’s cities within two days, but accused Russian forces of targeting a humanitarian corridor in the besieged port city of Mariupol, describing the attack as “outright terrorism”.

 

Earlier on Thursday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Verychuk said that not a single civilian was able to leave Mariupol as Russian forces failed to respect a temporary ceasefire to enable the evacuations.

 

The UN Security Council will hold an urgent meeting on Friday at the request of Russia over the alleged development of biological weapons in Ukraine. Both Washington and Kiev have denied the existence of laboratories aimed at producing biological weapons in Ukraine, saying the allegations are a sign that Moscow may soon use the same weapons.

 

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that half of the Ukrainian capital’s population had fled. But he warned that the city was now “a fortress. Every street, every building, every checkpoint has been fortified.” The Russian Defense Ministry said it will open humanitarian corridors on Friday from five cities: Kyiv, Suma, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Chernihiv.

 

US Vice President Harris reiterated his commitment to “defend every inch of NATO territory” and announced that the United States would provide another $50 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kolybamytin were in the Turkish city of Antalya,

 

Thursday, in the first high-level meeting between the two sides since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, but they only agreed to continue talking. Russia carried out an airstrike on a children’s hospital in Mariupol on Wednesday during a supposed ceasefire, according to Ukrainian authorities.

 

Zelensky, who accused Russia of a “war crime,” said two adults and a child were killed and 17 personnel were wounded in the attack. The European Union’s Ursula von der Leyen will propose a plan in mid-May to phase out Russian fossil fuels by 2027.

 

The United Nations said the number of refugees fleeing Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24 has exceeded 2.3 million. Updates below. If updates do not appear, please refresh the page.

 

(France 24, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and Abu Dhabi).

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