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Satellite images show Russian artillery fire as homes burn near Kiev

Despite a ceasefire agreement between Kyiv and Moscow, Russian troops continued to attack and obstruct evacuation efforts, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

Vereshchuk said Russian troops failed to honor a ceasefire when evacuation efforts were underway from Izyum, near Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine. Evacuation efforts were to be directed to six other cities, she said.

“We didn’t send a bus,” she said in a video address Friday. “They were forced to turn around and return to the town of Lozova, because the Russian troops did not adhere to the [cease-fire agreement]and unfortunately, at the moment, it is impossible to evacuate local residents and deliver humanitarian cargo.

Russian troops at a roadblock near Bilohorodka ordered 12 buses to turn back on Friday, according to Vereshchuk, because troops said they had no order allowing evacuation convoys to pass. This claim, Vereshchuk said, was false.

“The Red Cross prepared a response, which showed that the Russians have confirmed their willingness to open humanitarian corridors in this direction,” she said. “The [cease-fire agreed to by] the Russian armed forces on this road were breached.

Russian forces also left fires burning on Friday, including in the town of Mariupol, where Vereshchuk said there would be efforts to try to evacuate residents on Saturday.

She encouraged politicians and the media to watch the evacuations on Saturday to see how they unfold.

“Everything is impossible to do at once,” she said. “Russia, which systematically violates its commitments, is also the most important factor that does not allow to do what I and our team, the president and the prime minister and all of us really want.”