The UK government has accused Russia of proposing the failed ceasefire in Mariupol as cover to reshuffle its military for a renewed assault on Ukraine.
In an “intelligence update”, the Ministry of Defense said the brief pause in fighting on Saturday – which it was hoped would allow for mass civilian evacuations – “was likely an attempt to deflect international condemnation while resetting its forces for renewed offensive activity”.
Russia said earlier it had opened humanitarian corridors near the besieged eastern cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha – but local authorities soon urged residents to return to shelters, accusing Russia of continued shelling and bombing in Mariupol and its outskirts.
Moscow’s defense ministry, however, accused Ukrainian “nationalists” of preventing civilians from leaving, the RIA news agency reported.
“By accusing Ukraine of breaking the agreement, Russia is likely seeking to shift responsibility for current and future civilian casualties in the city,” the Ministry of Defense said.
Follow live updates as Ukraine defends against Russian invasion
The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015.
Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here.
To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.