Contempt at Moscow as Ukraine evacuation routes offered into Russia and Belarus

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates on Russia's latest offer to allow Ukrainian civilians to escape the shelling

Moscow's offer of evacuation routes for Ukrainian civilians into either Russia or Belarus have been slammed as "unacceptable" as the invaders claimed a third ceasefire was underway on Monday.

Two similar pledges to hold fire to allow for the safe evacuation of civilians out of cities under attack have failed in recent days, with Ukrainians left sheltering from Russian shelling after both ceasefires were broken.

It's unclear whether Monday's pledge was carried out, or whether any Ukrainians were able to find safe passage out of the affected cities of Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Sumy.

A third round of talks between the two sides took place on Monday, when an adviser to Ukraine's president said minor progress had been made towards establishing humanitarian corridors. Russia’s chief negotiator said he expects those corridors to start operating on Tuesday.

"There is continuous shelling," Deputy Mayor of Mariupol Sergey Orlov tells ITV News as the city prepares to try and evacuate its citizens for a third time

Earlier on Monday, plans published by Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency, citing the Defence Ministry, showed evacuation routes into Russia and ally Belarus (from which many attacks have been launched) - a move Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk called "unacceptable".

Europe Minister James Cleverly said Russia’s latest offer of a ceasefire and an escape route for civilians was "cynical beyond belief".

Mr Cleverly told BBC Breakfast: "Providing evacuation routes into the arms of the country that is currently destroying yours is a nonsense."

Russian forces opened fire on the city of Mykolaiv, some 298 miles (480 kilometres) south of the capital of Kyiv, Ukraine’s General Staff said on Monday. Rescuers said they were putting out fires in residential areas caused by rocket attacks.

ITV News' Dan Rivers reports from Zaporizhzhia, one of the areas Russia says Ukrainians can flee to safely

Ukraine officials described a “catastrophic” situation after multiple failed evacuation efforts in Kyiv’s suburbs.

"Russia continues to carry out rocket, bomb and artillery strikes on the cities and settlements of Ukraine," the General Staff said. "The invaders continue to use the airfield network of Belarus to carry out air strikes on Ukraine."

The Russians have also been targeting humanitarian corridors, taking women and children hostage and placing weapons in residential areas of cities, according to the General Staff.

Listen to our podcast for the latest analysis from our teams

Food, water and medicine are in desperately short supply in Mariupol after Russian attacks quickly closed the humanitarian corridor by breaking what would have been an 11-hour ceasefire, an Ukraine official said.

“There can be no ‘green corridors’ because only the sick brain of the Russians decides when to start shooting and at whom,“ Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko said on Telegram on Sunday.

Around eight civilians were killed by Russian shelling in the town of Irpin, on the northwest outskirts of Kyiv, according to Mayor Oleksander Markyshin.

"Instead of humanitarian corridors, they can only make bloody ones," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday. "Today a family was killed in Irpin. Man, woman and two children. Right on the road. As in a shooting gallery."

Lucrezia Millarini looks at the progress of Russia's invasion:

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call that the invasion could be halted “only if Kyiv ceases hostilities and fulfils the well-known demands of Russia".

Putin has listed “demilitarisation” and “denazification” of Ukraine, recognition of Russian-annexed Crimea as part of Russia and separatist regions in eastern Ukraine as independent states as the Kremlin’s main demands.

On Monday, the UN human rights office confirmed the deaths of 406 civilians in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24 but warned the real death toll is likely to be considerably higher. Ukrainian officials have presented far higher numbers.

Police for the Kharkiv region said Monday that 209 people have died there alone, 133 of them civilians.

A woman carried by Ukrainian soldiers crosses an improvised path while fleeing the town of Irpin. Credit: AP

Ceasefires planned for Mariupol and the nearby city of Volnovakha collapsed on Saturday and Sunday, trapping residents under more shelling and aerial bombardment.

In an intelligence update posted on Twitter on Monday morning, the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, although Russia seems to have made little progress on the ground over the weekend, forces appear to be targeting Ukraine’s communications infrastructure "in order to reduce Ukrainian citizens’ access to reliable news and information".

The MoD said a TV tower in Kharkiv was reportedly struck on Sunday, suspending broadcasting output. A TV tower in Kyiv was also hit March 1.

Britain said Ukrainian internet access is also highly likely being disrupted as a result of collateral damage from Russian strikes on infrastructure.

Russia was also restricting social media domestically, the MoD said.

It added: "This indicates the Kremlin's concern over the Russian population's attitude to the conflict."

The Deputy Mayor of Mariupol, Sergei Orlov, told ITV News the city had been under constant attack and that he did know how or when they can safely evacuate residents.

Over the weekend, President Putin hit out at Western sanctions that have crippled Russia’s economy and sent the value of its currency tumbling, likening it to "declaring war".

With the Kremlin’s rhetoric growing fiercer, the UN once again upped its estimate for the number of people fleeing Ukraine.

On Monday, the UN refugee agency said 1.7 million people have so far taken refuge in neighbouring countries, in what the agency described as "the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces had attacked the city of Vinnytsia.

Speaking in a video message on Sunday, Zelenskyy said eight missiles had hit the area, which he described as "peaceful" and having "never posed a threat to Russia".

The president said the city's airport had been destroyed in the strike.