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Russia declares temporary ceasefire in 2 war-hit Ukraine cities for evacuations

A fire in Mariupol after shelling on Thursday/ Picture courtesy Reuters/BBC

Russian forces declare a ceasefire to allow humanitarian corridors out of the Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha.

"Today, March 5, from 10 am Moscow time, the Russian side declares a regime of silence and opens humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilians from Mariupol and Volnovakha," news agency AFP quoted the defence ministry as saying. While the residents have been told to leave the cities, there is no confirmation, however, on how long the evacuation process will continue.

The temporary ceasefire began at 07:00 GMT and has been confirmed by Ukrainian authorities

Mariupol is the second port city being targeted by Moscow after the fall of Kherson earlier this week.

Earlier, Ukraine's president condemned Nato leaders for ruling out a no-fly zone over his country.

The no-fly zone would aim to stop Russian warplanes - but the West says it does not want to escalate.

Russia has banned Facebook, and now there are reports it has also blocked access to Twitter and YouTube.

CNN and Bloomberg News have become the latest global media outlets to suspend their operations in Russia after President Vladimir Putin signed into law a new bill that punishes the spreading of “fake news” with jail terms of up to 15 years.

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