n air raid siren sent residents in Kyiv into bomb shelters on Wednesday morning as a humanitarian corridor out of the besieged Ukrainian city of Sumy was set to continue operating.
“Kyiv region – air alert. Threat of a missile attack. Everyone immediately to shelters,” regional administration head Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram.
Nearly two weeks into the invasion, Russian troops have advanced deep along Ukraine’s coastline. The city of Mariupol, which sits on the Azov Sea, has been surrounded by Russian soldiers for days and a humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the encircled city of 430,000.
For days, as Moscow’s forces have laid siege to Ukrainian cities, attempts to create corridors to safely evacuate civilians have stumbled amid continuing fighting.
Across the country, thousands of people are thought to have been killed, both civilians and soldiers, in nearly two weeks of fighting. Russian forces have seen their advances stopped in certain areas – including around Kyiv – by fiercer resistance than expected from the Ukrainians.
About 5,000 people took buses out of Sumy after Moscow and Kyiv agreed on the corridor, regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky said, and about 1,000 cars were also able to leave, moving towards the city of Poltava.
The Sumy-Poltava corridor was the only one that functioned on Tuesday. Although Russia had said it would also allow civilians to leave Kyiv and the cities of Kharkiv, Mariupol and Chernihiv, the sides accused each other of failing to implement those deals.
Mr Zhyvytsky said separately that the city’s residential area has been bombed overnight, with one bomb killing 22 civilians.
Meanwhile the economic vice continued to tighten on Russia with the UK announcing new aviation sanctions on Wednedsay. They give it the power to detain any Russian aircraft and banning exports of aviation or space-related goods to Russia.
Britain will also strengthen its ban on Russian aircraft, making it a criminal offence for any to fly or land in the UK.
“The ban includes any aircraft owned, operated or chartered by anyone connected with Russia or designated individuals or entities, and will include the power to detain any aircraft owned by persons connected with Russia,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.