A planned 11-hour ceasefire in the Ukrainian city Mariupol has collapsed. Home to over 400,000 people, the town is currently without power and water, while an estimated 200,000 are expected to flee as food and medicine are in short supply.
After the ceasefire took effect early Sunday, a convoy of buses was expected to bring residents through a 60-kilometer humanitarian corridor created under a recent deal between Moscow and Kiev. Reporting from the ground, however, Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford noted "an increasing number of private vehicles taking families out," but said "there was no sign of that convoy."
The second ceasefire in Mariupol to fall apart in recent days, the latest deal was intended to allow residents to escape the city surrounded by Russian forces and controlled by members of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Avoz Batallion.
Both sides traded blame for violating the agreement. An official from Ukrainian President Zelensky’s office said "The Russian side is not holding to the cease-fire and has continued firing on Mariupol itself and on its surrounding area."
The Mariupol city council echoed Kiev’s charges, saying "It is extremely dangerous to take people out under such conditions," and an official from the Azov Battalion similarly accused Russia of firing on the city as the buses were still being loaded.
Russia’s Defense Ministry, meanwhile, pointed the finger at militant "nationalists" in Mariupol preventing people from leaving, adding that Ukrainian forces had fired on Russian troops as soon the ceasefire began.