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Ukraine urges ICRC not to open office in Russia’s Rostov-on-Don

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Ukraine has asked the International Committee of the Red Cross not to open a planned office in Russia’s Rostov-on-Don, saying it would legitimize Moscow’s “humanitarian corridors” and the abduction and forced deportation of Ukrainians.

The head of the ICRC said on Thursday after his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that agreement between the Russian and Ukrainian armies was needed before civilians could be evacuated properly from war-torn Ukraine.

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Russian media reported that Red Cross chief Peter Maurer asked Russia to facilitate the opening of a Red Cross office in Rostov-on-Don.

Mykhailo Radutskyi, chairman of public health committee in Ukraine’s parliament, appealed to the Red Cross to change its plans.

“The Committee calls on the International Committee of the Red Cross that it would not legitimize ‘humanitarian corridors’ on the territory of the Russian Federation as well as that it would not support the abduction of Ukrainians and its forced deportation,” Radutskyi said in a statement.

The ICRC was not immediately available to comment.

Rostov-on-Don is the largest Russian city on Ukraine’s eastern border and administrative capital of the Rostov region, which has been used by Russia for temporary accommodation camps for people transported out of the war zone.

Russia said last week it had evacuated several hundred thousand people from Ukraine since the start of what it calls is a “special military operation” to disarm and “denazify” its neighbor.

Ukraine claims that Russia has illegally deported thousands of people since the war started, including about 15,000 civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands of people, displaced nearly 4 million and raised fears of a wider confrontation between Russia and the West.

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