Red Cross heads again for Mariupol as Russia shifts Ukraine focus -Breaking
© Reuters. The Russian Air Force helicopter flys in the Ukraine-Russian conflict, near Mariupol (Ukraine), April 1, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
By James Mackenzie
ZAPORIZHZHIA in Ukraine (Reuters) – A Red Cross convoy traveling to Mariupol, Ukraine will attempt to evacuate civilians from this besieged port. Russian forces were seen to be regrouping to launch new attacks in the southeast.
Since the five-week-old Russian invasion of Ukraine, Mariupol has been Russia’s primary target in Ukraine’s southern region, Donbas. Tens of thousands are trapped in the region, with little access to food or water.
A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was sent to Friday by the International Committee of the Red Cross to direct a convoy of approximately 54 Ukrainian buses, as well as other private vehicles, out of the capital. But they returned to their base, stating that conditions prevented them from proceeding.
In a statement, the ICRC announced that “they will attempt again on Saturday in order to facilitate safe passage for civilians.” Red Cross attempted an earlier evacuation in March but it was stopped by the unsafe route.
Russia and Ukraine both agreed to humanitarian corridors in the conflict that allowed for the evacuation of thousands civilians.
Although both the ICRC and Mariupol have approved the operation, many details remain to be worked out, such as when the convoy will arrive in Ukraine, or where it will go.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy (Ukraine’s President) warned of Russian forces moving toward Donbas, and then northeast to Kharkiv. Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second-largest capital.
Zelenskiy expressed hope that there may be some solutions for Mariupol. The world must respond to this humanitarian disaster.
SHIFT FROM KYIV
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops in February 24, for what he described as a “special operation” against demilitarizing Ukraine.
It is being called an unprovoked aggression war by the West. The conflict has left thousands dead, displaced a quarter the population of Ukraine and heightened tensions between Russia-America relations to the highest point since the Cold War.
According to Reuters, the U.S. military canceled an intercontinental missile test it initially intended only to delay in its efforts to decrease nuclear tensions with Russia.
However, the United States of America and its European allies provided military support to Ukraine. The Pentagon announced an additional $300 Million in assistance late on Friday. New aid also includes anti-drone system and laser-guided rockets.
Russia stated that Donbas (where it has supported separatists since 2014) would be the center of any war effort at peace negotiations this week. Russian troops moved from Kyiv to leave behind devastated villages and abandoned tanks.
“You can clearly see that the enemy underestimates Kyiv’s potential. Yevhen Yenin, Deputy Internal Minister, stated that they continue to liberate our cities and evacuate our people.
Russia, which failed to capture one major city has described its withdrawal of military forces from Kyiv as an act of goodwill in peace negotiations.
The allies of Ukraine claim that Russian forces are now able to regroup, having suffered heavy losses from the determined Ukrainian resistance.
Moscow reported that Ukrainian helicopters struck an oil depot across the Russian border in Kharkiv on Friday. The incident triggered a massive fire. The incident was the first in this war and Ukraine denies responsibility.
The incident, which caused the destruction of several oil tanks, will probably add to Russia’s already stressed logistics chains, including operations in Kharkiv.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson said that the incident might jeopardize the peace negotiations. Peskov later stated that Russia would strengthen its western borders to prevent anyone from thinking of attacking.
On Friday, Ukrainian forces retook more territory from Kyiv. Officials at the Black Sea port Odesa stated that the anti-air defences stopped an attack on vital infrastructure within the city. Reuters was unable to verify this account immediately.
MaksymMarchenko, Odesa governor said that three missiles struck a residential area, inflicting casualties. The missiles came from the Iskander missile defense system in Crimea. This is the area of southern Ukraine that Russia annexed in 2014.
Russia denies targeting civilians. Odesa and Mariupol, which lie across the Black Sea, have been Russia’s main targets because of their strategic locations.
Russia, which was under unprecedented sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine in 2014, threatened to end gas supply to Europe. Buyers must pay by roubles. Europe pledged unity against Russia’s demand and Moscow assured that supplies would continue until payment is made later in April.
Turkey’s mediators and the United Nations are urging a halt to the fighting.
Martin Griffiths, United Nations Aid chief will be traveling to Moscow and Kyiv on Sunday as the U.N. seeks to end war in Ukraine. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said to reporters.