European Union should be prepared for five million people fleeing Ukraine, says senior diplomat

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In the besieged city of Mariupol, living conditions have seriously deteriorated and civilians are unable to leave safely.

On Saturday, Ukrainian authorities said thousands of civilians remain trapped in the southeastern city and accused Russian forces of violating an agreement to hold fire to allow safe passage.

“The situation in Mariupol is desperate,” Mirella Hodeib, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told CNN.

“People are now in their 10th day without water, without electricity, living in shelters, the shelters are full. Missing essentials, many health care needs as well.

“People need to have a safe passage out of Mariupol and anywhere else where hostilities are active.”

According to Hodeib, the ICRC is “willing to facilitate” that step and is talking to both Ukraine and Russia in a bid to safely evacuate civilians.

“Safe passage is mandatory under international humanitarian law and both sides should agree to provide safe passage for civilians leaving those areas,” he said.

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