Russian military create safe passage for residents to leave Kiev

Moscow urges civilians to evacuate from the Ukrainian capital

The Russian defense ministry has called on Ukrainian civilians to evacuate from Kiev. They can do so by taking a highway towards Vasilkov, a city located some 20km southwest from the Ukrainian capital, it said in a statement on Monday. “This direction is open and safe,” the statement said.

The ministry said that Russia “only attacks military objects” and claimed that the civilian population would not be at risk.

The call came on Monday as Ukrainian and Russian delegations are set to start peace talks in Belarus. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a public address that he had low expectations for the negotiations. His country does not intend to surrender, he said.

Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko told Associated Press on Sunday that the city was fully encircled by Russian troops, but backtracked on the claim later.

The Ukrainian government earlier distributed firearms to civilians willing to take them, released felons with military experience from prisons and called on Ukrainian people to prepare firebombs to fight Russian troops.

Russia attacked Ukraine on Thursday, claiming that the country had to be demilitarized and “denazified” to protect its breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as well as Russia.

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