Russia declared a partial ceasefire on Saturday to allow humanitarian corridors out of the Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, international media reported quoting Russia’s defence ministry.
“From 10am Moscow time [7am GMT], the Russian side declares a ceasefire and the opening of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha,” Russian news agencies quoted the Russian defence ministry as saying.
It came as war raged in Ukraine for a 10th day on Saturday as Russian troops besieged and bombarded cities in the biggest attack on a European state since the Second World War.
The fighting has created more than a million refugees, a barrage of sanctions that are increasingly isolating Moscow and fears in the West of a wider global conflict that has been unthought-of for decades.
Moscow says its invasion is a “special operation” to capture individuals it regards as dangerous nationalists and has denied targeting civilians.
Ukraine’s state service of special communications and protection of information says Russian forces have focused efforts on encircling Kyiv and Kharkiv, the second-biggest city, while aiming to establish a land bridge to Crimea.
Kyiv, in the path of a Russian armoured column that has been stalled outside the Ukrainian capital for days, came under renewed assault, with explosions audible from the city centre.
Ukrainian media outlet Suspilne cited authorities in Sumy, about 300km east of Kyiv, as saying that there is a risk of fighting in the city’s streets, urging residents to stay in shelters.