with humanitarian operations in Ukraine said Tuesday.
It added that Russia proposes to agree the routes and start time of the humanitarian corridors with Ukraine “before 03:00 MSK on March 9”. Civilian evacuations took place on Tuesday morning, in particular from the town of Sumy, where two convoys left during the day.
Evacuations also took place outside the capital Kyiv. But attempted evacuations from the port town of Mariupol have failed on several occasions in recent days, with both Kyiv and Moscow blaming the other side for the failures.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said he is no longer pressing for NATO membership for Ukraine, a delicate issue that was one of Russia’s stated reasons for invading its pro-Western neighbour. In another apparent nod aimed at placating Moscow, Zelensky said he is open to “compromise” on the status of two breakaway pro-Russian territories that President Vladimir Putin recognized as independent just before unleashing the invasion on February 24.
“I have cooled down regarding this question a long time ago after we understood that … NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine,” Zelensky said in an interview aired Monday night on ABC News. “The alliance is afraid of controversial things, and confrontation with Russia,” the president added.
Referring to NATO membership, Zelensky said through an interpreter that he does not want to be president of a “country which is begging something on its knees.” Russia has said it does not want neighboring Ukraine to join NATO, the transatlantic alliance created at the start of the Cold War to protect Europe from the Soviet Union.
Meanwhile, the United States led a Western assault on Moscow’s economic lifeline Tuesday, banning imports of Russian oil as civilians fled besieged Ukrainian cities in a desperate evacuation push blighted by Russian shelling.
President Joe Biden heralded the US embargo as a hit on “the main artery of Russia’s economy” targeting President Vladimir Putin’s most crucial source of revenue — and vowed Ukraine would “never be a victory” for Putin.
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