US steps up pressure on Russia over Ukraine invasion

US steps up pressure on Russia over Ukraine invasion post thumbnail image

Hundreds of thousands of civilians remained trapped in Ukrainian cities, sheltering from Russian air raids and shelling despite repeated Russian promises to provide humanitarian corridors for evacuations.

Russia’s defence ministry said it would declare a ceasefire on Friday and open humanitarian corridors from Mariupol as well as Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Chernihiv, although previous ceasefires have failed.

Officials in the besieged port of Mariupol said Russian warplanes again bombed the city on Thursday, a day after a maternity hospital was pulverised in an attack the United States said was evidence of a war crime.

Ms Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said Washington was “working with others in the international community to document the crimes that Russia is committing against the Ukrainian people”.

“They constitute war crimes; there are attacks on civilians that cannot be justified by any – in any way whatsoever,” she said in an interview with the BBC.

Mr Lavrov said the hospital struck on Wednesday had stopped treating patients and had been occupied by Ukrainian “radicals”.

Russia’s Defence Ministry later denied having bombed the hospital at all, accusing Ukraine of a “staged provocation”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday that Ukrainian authorities had managed to evacuate almost 40,000 people from the cities of Sumy, Trostyanets, Krasnopillya, Irpin, Bucha, Hostomel and Izyum.

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