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Russia-Ukraine conflict: Ukraine says ready for any prisoner swap format in Mariupol

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday said his country was ready for any format of prisoner exchange with Russia to free people from the besieged city of Mariupol.

“We are ready for any format of exchange for the sake of our people, both military and civilian,” Zelensky said.

He said this during a joint news conference with European Council President Charles Michel in Kiev, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported.

Currently, some 120,000 civilians remained in Mariupol, Zelensky said, adding that the humanitarian situation in the city was deteriorating.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked both the Russian and Ukrainian leaders to receive him to discuss steps to bring about peace following Russia’s special military operation in its neighbour.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the secretary-general, said on Wednesday in a statement that separate letters were sent Tuesday afternoon to the permanent missions of Russia and Ukraine to the UN.

The letter was asking Vladimir Putin to receive Guterres in Moscow and Volodymyr Zelensky to receive him in Kiev.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) member countries are doing everything to prolong the armed conflict in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

Zakharova said at her weekly briefing that NATO countries were increasing the supplies of military equipment, weapons and ammunition to Ukraine and pushing Kiev to continue aggression against Donbas.

She said these deeds went against NATO countries’ words that hostilities in Ukraine should end as soon as possible.

The facts about the Ukraine-Russia conflicts have reached a preliminary agreement on establishing a humanitarian corridor to evacuate women, children and the elderly from the embattled city of Mariupol.

The Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, has said.

Mariupol’s residents would be evacuated to Ukraine’s southern city of Zaporizhzhia through the Berdyansk town, which was controlled by Russian forces, Vereshchuk wrote on Telegram.

Meanwhile, Vadym Boichenko, Mayor of Mariupol said on national television that Ukraine hoped to send 90 buses to the besieged city to evacuate about 6,000 women, children and elderly people.

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Cecilia Odey

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