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The nationalists prevented the evacuation of civilians from the Russian-held port of Mariupol.
Ukrainian nationalists disrupted the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol, opening mortar fire from the territory of the Azovstal plant at the place where citizens gathered, announced authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic.
According to the press service of the People's Militia, "today, at the request of the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk, the Russian side organized a humanitarian corridor and provided transportation for the evacuation of the civilian population of Mariupol."
The evacuation "was thwarted by Ukrainian nationalists who opened mortar fire from the territory of the Azovstal plant at the declared assembly place for citizens near the Port City shopping center on Shevchenko Boulevard," the press service said.
The DPR People's Militia noted that "thanks to the professional actions of the Russian military, which ensured the safety of the place of assembly of citizens, it was possible to withdraw all the assembled people from the shelling and avoid casualties among the civilian population. ."
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Ukrainian authorities in their turn claimed that the Russians prevent evacuations to areas controlled by the Ukrainian Army to force the inhabitants of Mariupol to move to territories under Russian control.
Moscow denied obstructing the departure of Ukrainians from Mariupol and assured that citizens leaving the city can freely choose whether to evacuate to areas under the control of separatists or Kiev.
The interruption of the humanitarian corridor comes as the offensive of the Russian Armed Forces, together with the militias of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics, is advancing on the areas still under Kiev's control.
The Russian army reiterated its readiness for a truce in "all or part" of that industrial zone to allow the evacuation of civilians and the surrender of fighters.
"The starting point of this humanitarian truce would be for Ukrainian troops to raise a white flag in part or all of Azovstal," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The Moscow government acknowledged on Friday that its objectives in this second phase of the war in Ukraine are to take control of the Donbas - a historical region that includes Lugansk and Donetsk - and the south of the country and to open a land corridor linking Russia with the Crimean peninsula.