Consulate of Ukraine in La., others reacts to Ukraine & Russia agreeing to set up civilian corridors

The fighting continues despite the deal
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 6:13 PM CST
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Ukraine damage from Russian attack.
Ukraine damage from Russian attack.

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Honorary Consulate of Ukraine in Louisiana and a Tulane foreign policy expert reacted to Ukraine and Russia agreeing to temporary ceasefires in some areas where civilians are trying to flee the war.

The consulate issued the following statement:

“We applaud any measures taken to reduce civilian casualties and which allow innocent civilians to flee the war. However, to be clear, this is not a concession by Russia. Russia is obligated to avoid innocent civilian casualties under international law, including the Geneva Convention. Moreover, this agreement occurs while Russia continues to bomb civilian infrastructure and innocent populations. Only an immediate ceasefire by Russia is an acceptable result. We continue to call on our allies to provide us with the weapons and supplies needed to defend our freedom and democracy.”

Professor Chris Fettweis of Tulane University doubts Russian President Vladimir Putin will not back down completely.

“It’s going to be hard to see how they back down, it’s hard to see how they admit a mistake, much less pull out,” said Fettweis.

Still, Russia has reached a tentative agreement with Ukraine to set up safe corridors inside Ukraine for evacuating citizens and the delivery of humanitarian aid. Ceasefires are supposed to be along those routes. But Ukrainians who have fled their homeland are begging for peace.

“Ukrainians are very friendly. If we don’t want to have war, we don’t want to have war with somebody. We want just peace,” said Olga Shevchenko, a Ukrainian refugee. “We’re talking about civilian corridors, they’re just talking about letting refugees get out of Ukraine and refugees are more or less getting out of Ukraine now without being bothered, without being shot at, so it’s not that big a deal what was announced today, really,” said Fettweis.

“We ask, we ask Russian President, we ask all Russians, please stop the war because it’s so dangerous,” said Shevchenko.

The Red Cross said in a statement:

“As fighting intensifies in and around Ukraine, the global Red Cross network is helping families impacted by conflict and the American Red Cross is providing aid to service members and others who are deployed to the region.”

Fettweis is concerned Putin will grow desperate as Ukrainians continue to fight for their democracy.

“As things get more desperate the Russians may start to care less and less about the fate of civilians in these cities,” he said.

He said those battling the Russian military should not let their guard down.

“No, certainly not and they won’t. The fighting hasn’t stopped, and the shelling hasn’t stopped. It’s just an acknowledgment that some areas of the country that are going to hopefully a little bit safer than other areas,” said Fettweis.

The two sides are expected to continue talking early next week.

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