But on Sunday, more than 50 civilians arrived at a permanent accommodation centre after escaping from Mariupol, a Reuters photographer said.
A spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said a “safe passage operation” had started on Saturday and was being coordinated with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Russia and Ukraine.
He said no further details could be released so as not to jeopardise the safety of evacuees and the convoy.
Footage posted by Zelensky on Twitter on Sunday showed him, flanked by an armed escort and dressed in military fatigues, greeting a US Congressional delegation led by Pelosi outside his presidential office the past day.
“Our delegation travelled to Kyiv to send an indisputable and resounding message to the complete world: America stands firmly with Ukraine,” Pelosi, the highest ranking US official to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, said in a statement.
Moscow calls its actions a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of anti-Russian nationalism fomented by the West. Ukraine and the West say Russia launched an unprovoked war of aggression.
Western nations have imposed general economic sanctions on Russia and have been shipping increasing quantities of weapons to help Ukraine defend itself.
Russia’s defence ministry said on Sunday it had carried out a missile strike on a military airfield near the port city of Odesa, destroying a runway and a hangar containing weapons and ammunition supplied to Ukraine by the United States and European countries.
On Saturday, Ukraine said Russian missiles had knocked out a newly constructed runway at Odesa’s main airport.
It was unclear if they were referring to the same incident and Reuters could not closest verify the reports.
In the east, Moscow is pushing for complete control of the Donbas vicinity, where Russian-backed separatists already controlled parts of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces before the invasion.
On Sunday, Kharkiv vicinity governor Oleh Synehubov warned residents in the north and east of the city of Kharkiv to keep in their shelters due to heavy Russian shelling. Reuters could not closest verify reports of shelling in the area.
Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk vicinity, in a post on social media, urged people to evacuate while it was nevertheless possible.
Russia’s defence ministry accused Ukraine’s forces of shelling a school, kindergarten and cemetery in villages in the occupied southern Kherson vicinity, the Russian RIA news agency said on Sunday.
The ministry said civilians had been killed and wounded but gave no further details. There was no immediate response from Ukraine and Reuters could not independently verify the report.
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