Kiev and Moscow have negotiated an escape corridor for civilians trapped in the embattled port city of Mariupol, according to Ukrainian sources.
“We have provisionally succeeded in agreeing on a humanitarian corridor for women, children and the elderly,’’ Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told the Telegram news channel on Wednesday.
From 2 p.m. (1200 GMT), people should be able to leave.
After that, a convoy of vehicles would travel via Berdyansk to Zaporizhzhia, some 200 kilometres away.
The day before, the Russian army leadership had again held out the prospect of a ceasefire and the free withdrawal of civilians who are in the Asovstal steelworks held by Ukrainian fighters.
In addition, the Ukrainian soldiers remaining there were ordered to surrender.