Russia declares cease-fire to open humanitarian corridor for 2 Ukrainian cities

Cease-fire starting at 10 a.m. to allow civilians to leave cities, which have been under heavy Russian shelling.

Russia declares cease-fire to open humanitarian corridor for 2 Ukrainian cities

After talks with Ukrainian authorities, Russia Saturday declared a temporary cease-fire to open humanitarian corridors for two Ukrainian cities.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced the cease-fire for the safe passage of civilians from the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, said a ministry statement.

"Today, on March 5, from 10 a.m. Moscow time (0700GMT), the Russian side declares a cease-fire and opens humanitarian corridors for civilians to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha," the statement said.

The corridors and exit routes were agreed on with the Ukrainian side, the statement added.

Residents in Mariupol, which has been under heavy shelling by Russian forces for several days, have been forced to live without food, water, and electricity, according to the city’s mayor, Vadim Boychenko.

Mariupol is a key port city, and Volnovakha lies inland in the eastern Donetsk region, whose recognition as “independent” by Russia came on the eve of the 10-day-old war.

The announcement followed a second round of Russia-Ukraine talks to end the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Russia and Ukraine agreed to create humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians and for food and medicine deliveries, a member of Ukraine's negotiating delegation said Thursday following the talks.

Russia's war on Ukraine has been met by outrage from the international community, with the EU, Britain, and the US, among others, implementing a range of economic sanctions on Russia.

According to UN figures, at least 331 civilians have been killed and 675 injured in Ukraine since the start of the Russian attacks.

More than 1.2 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries, according to the UN refugee agency.