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“I just received information that the occupiers may try to organize their corridor in parallel with us for evacuation to Russia,” Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshuk reported to Facebook to warn. “So please be careful. Don’t succumb to deception and provocation.”
Vereshchuk has been working for days to secure an evacuation route from the partially besieged city, but its attempts have been repeatedly thwarted by Russian forces.
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory over Mariupol this week despite thousands of civilians and resistance fighters holed up under the city’s Azovstal steel mill.
The invading forces repeatedly tried to root out the fortified fighters deep in the tunnels below the factory by claiming that they would let them live if they surrendered voluntarily.
But Vereshchuk criticized Russian claims on Friday that a separate evacuation route was unnecessary for civilians stranded in the war-torn city.
In addition, for weeks there have been reports of Russian forces forcibly deporting Ukrainians to camps in Russia.
The Deputy Prime Minister explained that the evacuation routes organized in Kyiv will go to Zaporozhye via four additional stations along the Sea of Azov before heading inland.
Zaporizhzhia, which is located just west of Donetsk over the Sea of Azov, became a destination For evacuees fleeing the port of Mariupol in Donetsk.
But on Friday it became the target of further Russian aggression,
A Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman has warned that Moscow is looking to annex Zaporizhia along with its neighboring Kherson region – which lies directly above Russian-occupied Crimea.
Ukrainian officials warned Not only is Russia looking to craft a referendum to control parts of southern Ukraine, but it will forcibly recruit Ukrainian men into the regions to “compensate” for its human losses.
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