Ukraine: Al Jazeera journalist shows Kharkiv destruction
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Ukraine’s foreign ministry has accused Russia of violating a ceasefire by shelling the humanitarian corridor from Zaporizhzhia to the besieged city of Mariupol. In the southern port city of Mariupol, people are not only suffering bombardment, but have no heat, water, sanitary systems or phones. Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said today: “Ceasefire violated! Russian forces are now shelling the humanitarian corridor from Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol. 8 trucks + 30 buses ready to deliver humanitarian aid to Mariupol and to evacuate civilians to Zaporizhzhia.
“Pressure on Russia MUST step up to make it uphold its commitments.”
The humanitarian situation in Ukraine continues to worsen as people flee the country – over a million Ukrainians have escaped to Poland alone.
Inna Sovsun, a Ukrainian MP, spoke to Express.co.uk about how her family have been impacted since the invasion started.
She said: “My family is in different places right now, my nine-year-old son was taken to western Ukraine by my ex-husband, the father of my child.
“My dad also took my mum to western Ukraine, and the next day he came back.
“My boyfriend was in the army before, but he has now rejoined. I am in touch with my boyfriend but I do not know exactly where he is. I get messages just so I know he is alive.
“My dad was in the area near Kyiv, where the biggest battles are. We lost connection with him and he was not responding to phone calls for three days.
“That made me and my mum go a bit crazy because we didn’t know if he was alive. There are Russian tanks in that area.
“Luckily we now know he is ok, but there is this crazy fear in my heart because I didn’t know if my dad was alive.
“There are so many people who can’t know if their loved ones are alive.
“My situation is like this – I am extremely angry about all of this. I haven’t seen my son since the start of the invasion now, he called me several days ago and asked ‘Mum, when shall I see you?’
“That’s when I started crying because I couldn’t answer that question.”
As many in the country struggle to access vital resources, Russia’s humanitarian corridors continue to anger Ukrainian leaders.
Kyiv rejected an offer from Moscow to create these so-called humanitarian corridors allowing civilians to flee six heavily bombed Ukrainian cities, after it emerged that several of the supposedly safe routes led directly to Russia or its ally, Belarus.
Posting a video online on Monday night, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused Moscow of “cynicism”.
He also said Russian troops destroyed buses that were due to evacuate civilians from the combat zones.
The UK Government has come under fire this week as the Home Office revealed on Monday it had only granted 300 visa applications for Ukrainians out of 17,700 which had been started.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has joined calls for the Government to make it easier for Ukrainians to make their way over to the UK.
He said: “Wales is ready to support refugees from Ukraine, but more needs to be done to ensure safe and easy travel routes are available.
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“The UK Government needs to revisit its immigration policies to cut the red tape and do more to help those fleeing the violence in Ukraine.”
Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, admitted today that the process for bringing Ukrainian refugees to the UK has “not been quick enough”.
At the same time, Mr Wallace appeared to concede that the route to Britain for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion had been made more difficult by forcing those arriving in Calais to go to Paris to have their applications processed.
He told BBC Breakfast: “It’s difficult for those people – why wouldn’t it be? – to go all the way back to Paris. We need to upscale it. I know that the Home Secretary has already doubled, or trebled in some cases, more people in different processing centres. We can do more – we will do more.
“It’s not the case that we are only allowing 300 people in, it is the case that the system has not been quick enough, which is what we’re going to address.”
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