Fears were mounting about the thousands of civilians trapped in besieged Ukrainian cities as Russia continued to bombard residential areas on Tuesday, preventing evacuations.
Russia’s United Nations ambassador claimed Moscow would hold fire Tuesday morning and grant safe passage to residents of Sumy, Zhytomyr, Kharkiv, Mariupol and suburbs of Kyiv.
But the plan was met with doubt by Ukrainian leaders after several previous efforts to establish the so-called humanitarian corridors were shattered when Russia renewed its attacks.
As the invasion entered its 13th day, Russia continued dropping a steady stream of rockets and shells on population centers.
Children were reportedly among more than 10 people killed by Russian aerial attacks in the northeastern city of Sumy and its suburbs on Monday night.
Local leader Dmytro Zhyvytsky shared the tragic update in a Facebook live video that was translated by BBC.
Get the latest updates in the Russia-Ukraine conflict with The Post’s live coverage.
“Unfortunately, children are among those killed,” Zhyvytsky said of the 11 p.m. bombings by Russian warplanes, according to the outlet.
“We will never forgive this!” he wrote in a subsequent post.
The mayor of Bucha, a Kyiv suburb, said her city was being hit nonstop by Russian artillery fire, leaving corpses strewn in the streets.
“We can’t even gather up the bodies because the shelling from heavy weapons doesn’t stop day or night,” Mayor Anatol Fedoruk said. “Dogs are pulling apart the bodies on the city streets. It’s a nightmare.”
The city of 36,971 was one of several in eastern and central Ukraine that Russian forces continued to bomb overnight Monday into Tuesday.
Soldiers and volunteers worked to fortify the capital of Kyiv, where President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to stay, despite the looming threat from Russian forces to the north.
Zelensky defiantly revealed his location during a video posted to social media Monday and vowed, “I’m staying in Kyiv.”
“On Bankova Street [where the presidential offices are located],” he added. “Not hiding, and I’m not afraid of anyone.”
During an interview with “ABC World News Tonight” aired Monday night, Zelensky called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to get out of his “bubble” and “start the dialogue” about ending the invasion.
Zelensky was set to address the British House of Commons later Tuesday in a video call as he continued to push Western countries to institute a no-fly zone over his nation.
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said Tuesday the pace of the Russian advance “has slowed significantly” and that the enemy troops were “demoralized.”
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said a senior Russian general, Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov, was killed during fighting near Kharkiv in the northeast Monday. Ukrainian officials also said two Russian airplanes were shot down over Kyiv and in a nearby area Monday.
Conditions in the encircled southeast city of Mariupol, though, were growing increasingly desperate, with nearly half the population, an estimated 200,000 people, hoping to flee.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia forecast a ceasefire for 10 a.m. Moscow time and the opening of humanitarian corridors.
Ukraine officials earlier scorned the safe-corridor proposal as a “completely immoral’’ trick — because the Kremlin’s proposed escape routes would funnel refugees into Russia or its ally Belarus.
Nebenzia denied the claim, saying: “It will be the choice of the people themselves where they want to be evacuated to.”
There were also alarming reports that the corridors may be a trap: A senior Red Cross official told the BBC on Monday that agency workers trying to use a passageway out of Mariupol said the route had been booby-trapped with landmines.
In the key western city of Lviv, meanwhile, officials warned the humanitarian situation was dire as displaced residents from war-torn parts of the country arrived in masse amid the continued attacks.
More than 200,000 Ukrainians have sought safety in Lviv – a vital transit point for those aiming to flee across the border into Poland. The displaced civilians have been sheltering in schools, sports hall, churches and hospitals.
But the mayor of the Lviv sounded the alarm over potential food shortages.
“We really need support,” said Mayor Andriy Sadovyi, who has called for large tents outfitted with kitchens to feed the growing number of people stopping in the city.
More than 1.7 million Ukrainian citizens – mostly women and children — have fled their country into Central Europe amid Russia’s invasion of their country, the UN’s refugee agency said Monday.
The European Union could see as many as 5 million refugees if Russia’s deadly invasion continues, according to the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, Reuters reported.
With Post wires