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Ukraine Says Nine Humanitarian Corridors Agreed With Russian Forces

People walk past a Russian soldier in central Mariupol on April 12.
People walk past a Russian soldier in central Mariupol on April 12.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says nine humanitarian corridors have been agreed upon with Russia to allow for the evacuation of civilians from several cities, including the besieged port of Mariupol.

Other evacuation routes for April 14 are from Berdyansk, Tokmak and Enerhodar, while others in the eastern Luhansk region will operate only if occupying Russian forces stop their shelling, Vereshchuk added in a statement posted on her Telegram channel.

Ukraine says tens of thousands of people are believed to have been killed in Mariupol and accuses Russia of blocking aid convoys attempting to bring relief to civilians who have been trapped in the city for weeks.

Ukrainian authorities have called on civilians in the eastern part of the country to leave ahead of an imminent, stepped-up offensive by Russian forces.

The calls for civilians to flee have been given a greater sense of urgency by a missile attack on April 8 on a train station in the city of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region. The station was packed with women, children, and the elderly trying to escape the fighting.

Russia's unprovoked war has forced about one-quarter of Ukraine's 44 million people from their homes, reduced many cities to rubble, and killed or injured thousands.

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Meanwhile, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney is visiting Kyiv on April 14 to discuss his country's support for Ukraine.

Coveney will visit areas in the Ukrainian capital directly affected by the Russian invasion and meet Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.

He is the first foreign minister on the UN Security Council to visit Kyiv since Russia launched its war on Ukraine.

A statement from Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs said: "His discussions with the Ukrainian government will focus on how Ireland can continue to provide political, security and humanitarian support to Ukraine, assist Ukraine in its application for EU candidate status, take forward further EU sanctions on Russia and hold Russia to account for its brutal and unjustified invasion."

Ireland has provided 20 million euros ($22 million) in humanitarian aid to the country and Ukrainian refugees in neighboring counties, and 33 million euros ($36 million) in nonlethal assistance for the Ukrainian military through the European Peace Facility.

The statement added: "Ireland has been at the forefront of putting in place a robust EU sanctions regime and of supporting international mechanisms to hold Russia to account for grave violations of international humanitarian law, including referring the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court."

With reporting by dpa
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