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Ukrainian officials say the planned evacuation route to help civilians leave the northeastern city of Sumy, which has been subjected to sustained Russian attacks and airstrikes in recent days, has been operational.
This corridor runs between the Russian city of Sumy and the Ukrainian city of Poltava, a journey of just under 100 miles.
On his Telegram channel, Dmytro Lunin, head of the Poltava regional administration, said that the Russian and Ukrainian sides had agreed on the route.
In his words, “The ceasefire regime is from 09:00 to 21:00 Kyiv time. Ukraine adheres to it,” he said.
In addition, Lunin noted that several dozen buses have already left Lokhvytsia, a city southwest of Sumy, to pick up civilians and that roughly 20 tons of humanitarian aid have also been sent, including food and medicine.
Lunin said, “We will welcome them, feed them,” he said. As you can imagine, we are evacuating a lot of civilians, including foreign students. After that, they are going to go to the west of the country. Food and medicine will be delivered via this humanitarian corridor to Sumy.”
Some background: According to the State Emergency Services (SES) in Ukraine, nine civilians, including two children, were killed in a Russian airstrike on an apartment building in Sumy.
Ukrainian rejected Russia’s unilateral proposal for evacuation corridors on Monday because most of the routes lead to Russia or its ally Belarus and would require people to travel through active combat zones.
Earlier this week, several attempts to evacuate civilians failed, with Western leaders accusing Russian forces of continuing to target pre-approved safe routes.
At least eight people, including two children, were killed when a Russian strike struck an evacuation crossing point outside Kyiv on Sunday.