Ukraine demands international organizations presence to open aid corridors

A mother and her four children from Ukraine wait aboard a ferry going to Romania at the border point Isaccea-Orlovka between Romania and Ukraine, in Isaccea March 8, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
AMMAN — The Ukrainian ambassador to Jordan Myroslava Shcherbatiuk denied that Mariupol authorities refused to allow residents to use humanitarian corridors to leave or that the Ukrainian government deliberately holds foreigners and civilians hostages.اضافة اعلان

In an interview with Jordan News, the envoy refuted such claims allegedly made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Russia Today (RT) and published by a local media outlet.

Shcherbatiuk told Jordan News that the Ukrainian government had several rounds of negotiations with the Russian armed forces to allow wounded people and people with special needs to leave the city, but “they did not receive any assurances or any credible arrangements on the ground that would allow people to leave the city”.

“The dire situation has expanded in Mariupol and Sumy. People are unable to satisfy their basic needs and to be rescued through safe passages out of the city,” Shcherbatiuk said.

The Guardian reported on March 7 that the Ukrainian government had rejected the humanitarian corridors offered by Moscow, which would have allowed civilians to leave six heavily bombed Ukrainian cities to Russia and its ally, Belarus.

According to the Guardian, Kremlin SpokespersonDmitry Peskov said that Moscow was ready to halt its military operations if Kyiv met the Russian list of conditions, which included: ceasing military action, changing its constitution to ensure neutrality, acknowledging Crimea as a Russian territory, and recognizing the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.

Shcherbatiuk said on Al-Mamlaka TV that Ukraine does not accept the option of humanitarian corridors to Russia and Belarus since they cannot guarantee the safety of people and security measures. However, she said, the Ukrainian government could accept evacuation through Ukraine if international organizations were present on Ukrainian territory.

According to Shcherbatiuk, the first wave of evacuation from Sumy was to start Tuesday, at 1 pm Kyiv time (2pm Jordan time). Civilians were to be evacuated from Sumy to Poltava, Ukraine, and from there to Poland, Moldova, Hungary, and Romania. Among those to be evacuated were 127 Jordanian students. 

She later said that all Jordanian s who had registered have been evacuated and have arrived at Poltava from Sumy.

“We call on Russia to agree on other humanitarian corridors in Ukraine,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on its official Twitter account.

“Our message is clear: the Russian Federation is again gambling with this issue pinning all the blame on the Ukrainian side. It is impossible to establish corridors if there is no ceasefire,” Shcherbatiuk said.

Lucjan Karpiński, the Polish ambassador to Jordan, told Jordan News that 1,291,279 people had crossed the Polish border from Ukraine by March 7, of which 331 were Jordanians.

“This is the biggest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II. I am proud to say that the Polish people respond with immense kindness. For a short-term solution, we are housing people with Polish families,” Karpiński said, adding that some of the refugees would stay in Poland, while others would be transferred to other European countries, “irrespective of their nationality”.

At the same time, he said that the EU is expected to assist with the crisis as it is a “common responsibility” to deal with long term.

The Russian embassy in Jordan would not comment on the issue.

So far, more than 2 million people have fled Ukraine because of the Russian invasion, according to UN reports.

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