Mariupol evacuation halted as Russia, Ukraine trade charges of firing

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The Russian military has claimed that it was fired upon from Mariupol and Volnovakha after the ceasefire came into force.

Artillery fire was opened on the positions of Russian armed forces from Mariupol, as well as from Volnovakha, said Russian General Colonel Mikhail Mizintsev.

“On the Volnovakha and Mariupol directions, humanitarian corridors were opened daily, but the national battalions categorically suppress attempts by civilians to leave towards the Russian Federation,” he said.

From 10 pm Moscow time on March 4, the Russian side announced a silence regime so that civilians from Ukrainian Mariupol and Volnovakha could use the humanitarian corridors.

Later, the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, said that the Azov detachment fighters staged an explostion in Mariupol in a house on Meotida Boulevard, RT reported.

As a result of the explosion, the house collapsed, leaving up to 200 people under the rubble in the basement, most of them women and children.

The nationalist battalions do not allow the civilian population of Ukraine to go out along the humanitarian corridors towards Russia, stated Mizintsev, who’s the head of the National Defense Control Centre of Russia.

Ukraine officials halted the planned evacuation of civilians from the Ukrainian-controlled Azov Sea port city Mariupol on Saturday, accusing Russia of continued shelling despite a promise to provide safe passage, RT reported.

However, the Mariupol City Council said shortly after 12:40 pm local time that the evacuation had been “postponed”.

“The Russian side doesn’t abide by the ceasefire and has continued to shell Mariupol and its surroundings,” the Council said in a brief statement on social media.

It added that the evacuation will resume once the ceasefire is restored.

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