Ukraine has reached a tentative agreement with Russia to create safe corridors for civilians to evacuate the country and for humanitarian supplies to be delivered; Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, said on Thursday (March 3).
Under the agreement, cease-fires will be observed in the corridors, Podolyak added. The news arrived as officials from the two countries entered a second round of negotiations in Belarus on Thursday, over a week after Russia first launched its attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded that Ukraine accept “demilitarization,” declare itself neutral and withdraw its bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke with Putin by phone on Thursday, CNN and other outlets report. The 90-minute phone call was reportedly “pessimistic” and “not-so-friendly.” A source at the French Élysée Palace told reporters that due to the call, President Macron believes “the worst is yet to come.”
“This conversation is unfortunately an occasion to hear that President Putin will continue military interventions and to go all the way,” the source said, per CNN.
The source also said there was “nothing in what Putin said [during the call] today that should reassure us.”
As reported by REVOLT, Ukraine’s major cities have been hit hard by Russian attacks. On Thursday, a senior Defense Department official said around 90 percent of the 150,000 military forces that Putin deployed to the Ukrainian border have now made their way inside the country.
Early on Tuesday morning (March 1), the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported 227 casualties amidst Russia’s attack. However, that number jumped to 752 civilian casualties on Thursday (March 3), as recorded by the U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. Ukrainian emergency services have estimated that upwards of 2,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed.