Intl Red Cross chief calls on Ukraine, Russia to agree on safe evacuations

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The International Committee of the Red Cross called on Ukraine and Russia on Tuesday to reach a clear agreement for the safe evacuation of civilians from the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol and other places as vital supplies run out.

Robert Mardini, ICRC director-general, told Reuters that the neutral aid agency would not participate in any forced evacuations of civilians from Ukraine and it had no first-hand information that this is happening.

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He also said there was a “disinformation campaign” against the ICRC on social media.

“Our concern is that the very intensity of the fighting is putting civilians in harm’s way, the fact that in places like Mariupol civilians are not able to leave in safe conditions, there were no concrete agreements by parties to the conflict for safe evacuation of civilians, nor has there been a green light to get humanitarian aid in,” Mardini said.

Ukraine and Russia must allow the ICRC to visit captured prisoners of war, in line with the Geneva Conventions, and return the remains of people killed in the conflict, he said in an interview at ICRC headquarters in Geneva.

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