- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Lavrov: Ukrainian Forces Didn't Allow Russia to Evacuate Foreign Students From Kharkov

© Sputnik / Pavel Bednyakov / Go to the mediabankRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov  - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.03.2022
Russia and Ukraine negotiated the creation of humanitarian corridors during the last round of talks in Belarus. The corridors in two Ukrainian cities were opened by Russian forces at 7:00 GMT on 5 March.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stated that Russia was ready to help with the evacuation of foreign students from Kharkov, but was prevented from doing so by Ukrainian forces.
"It would seem that the Ukrainian regime is not averse to holding foreigners and civilians in general as hostages", Lavrov added.
The minister elaborated that the Russian military had some 150 buses stocked with drinks, food, and warm clothes ready to pick up and evacuate a significant number of civilians, including foreign students. Lavrov said that the Ukrainian side refused to open the corridor for them.
Forces from the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) earlier said that the authorities in Mariupol had refused to let their citizens leave the city via the humanitarian corridor created by the Russian military. The Russian Defence Ministry separately said that according to its information, nationalist battalions are holding around 5,000 foreigners hostage in Ukrainian cities and are using them as human shields.
The Defence Ministry said that some 1,755 foreigners, including 1,500 students from India, are being held in Kharkov, surrounded by Russian forces. An additional 1,106 foreigners are currently being held in the Sumy. Head of the Russian National Defence Management Centre Mikhail Mizintsev added that a group of around 20 Pakistani students attempted to leave Sumy and travel to the checkpoint Sudzha on the Russian border, but were beaten by nationalists serving in Ukrainian territorial defence units.
"The West and international organisations pretend not to notice the extreme plight of people in the territories controlled by neo-Nazis and Banderites", Mizintsev added.
Russia and Ukraine agreed to open humanitarian corridors during the second round of talks in Belarus on 3 March. The Russian military announced a ceasefire to open humanitarian corridors and allow civilians to exit the city at 7:00 GMT on 5 March.
The attempts at evacuating civilians take place as Russia continues its special military operation in Ukraine, which Kiev and its allies call an "invasion". Moscow said that the mission's goals were to demilitarise Ukraine, removing weapons that endanger Russia from its territory, protect the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR), as well as to de-Nazify the country. Russia specifically stressed that it is only conducting airstrikes against Ukrainian military infrastructure and is doing everything to avoid hitting infrastructure and civilians.
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