Russia Shoots at Ukraine Civilians While They Are Being Evacuated

Russian forces have opened fire during an evacuation of civilians, killing a police officer, Ukrainian officials report.

The incident took place as officers worked to get civilians out of Demydiv in the Kyiv region as Russia's invasion entered its 14th day on Wednesday.

"Today, during the evacuation of people from the occupied Demydiv, a policeman from Kyiv region, senior sergeant Oleksiy Ponomarenko, heroically died," Andriy Nebytoc, the police chief of the Kyiv region said in a post on Facebook.

"The invaders opened fire in the direction of law enforcement officers and civilians," Nebytoc said. "For the sake of saving people, Alexei paid with the most dear thing—his life."

"We are proud of the courage and self-sacrifice of the policeman," he said. "Even the death of comrades will not stop us. We will continue to serve and protect, defend our Motherland and save people!"

It came as Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Russia had agreed to a 12-hour cease-fire on Wednesday to allow civilians to flee from six of the worst affected areas through humanitarian corridors.

People have been leaving besieged cities through these corridors in recent days, but Russia has been accused of shelling some evacuation routes.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday said efforts were under way to evacuate some 18,000 people from the capital, Kyiv, and other towns near it.

He warned Russian forces against violating cease-fire agreements and appealed for Western nations to send warplanes to Ukraine.

Log into Facebook to start sharing and connecting with your friends, family, and people you know.

That came after a proposal by the Polish government on Tuesday to transfer its MiG-29 fighter jets—which Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly—to a U.S. air base in Germany was rejected by the Pentagon.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the proposal raised the worrying prospect of warplanes departing from a U.S. and NATO base to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia. Moscow has declared that supporting Ukraine's air force would be tantamount to joining the war.

In his address on Wednesday, Zelensky also issued a direct appeal to Russian soldiers, urging them to leave Ukraine.

"Our resistance for almost two weeks has shown you that we will not surrender, because this is our home," he told them in Russian.

"It is our families and children. We will fight until we can win back our land. You can still save yourselves if you just go home."

Update 9/3/22, 8:44 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.

Ukrainians cross an improvised path
People cross an improvised path along a destroyed bridge as residents continue to flee the Ukrainian city of Irpin on March 8, 2022. Andriy Dubchak/dia images via Getty Images