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Russian Foreign Minister's hoax: Ukraine is keeping civilians from leaving combat zones

Russian state-owned media are broadcasting the statement made by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his visit to Oman. Channel One writes:

“Today, Sergey Lavrov is conducting negotiations in Oman. The situation in Ukraine is one of the central agenda items. As Mr. Lavrov remarks, Kyiv is keeping civilians from leaving the special operation zone. The minister has called on the international community to exert its influence.”

Similarly, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports:

“Following the negotiations with Badr Bin Hamad Bin Hamood Al Busaidi, Oman’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov also underlines that Russia has recommended the UN Secretary-General to demand that Kyiv stop impeding the safe passage of civilians from the areas affected by the special operation in defense of Donbas.”

In reality, Ukraine has been evacuating the population of the areas hit by the Russian aggression since the first days of the conflict. Ukrainian railways provide daily evacuation trains from eastern and central regions to Western Ukraine and abroad; the ride is free for all evacuees. The information about evacuation trains is available on a regularly updated webpage of the railway company's website. Thus, a train from Pokrovsk (former Krasnoarmiisk), Donetsk Region, to Lviv in Western Ukraine was scheduled for May 11. The UNIAN agency also posts timely updates on evacuation routes.

On May 5, RIA Novosti argued that Azovstal defenders in Mariupol were allegedly holding civilians hostage and demanding food and medicine for their release. Nevertheless, the evacuation from the besieged plant was ongoing, both before and after this statement. On May 8, UN Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed the accomplishment of yet another evacuation effort coordinated by the UN and the International Red Cross Committee. Even the head of the so-called DPR Denis Pushilin admitted on May 11 that, according to his sources, there were no civilians left at Azovstal.

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