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Russian military announces "safe" corridor for Kyiv residents to leave



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Smoke rises over the Kyiv skyline on February 27. (Evgen Kotenko/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images)

By Nathan Hodge, Moscow, Feb. 28 (CNN): The Russian military announced an "open and safe" corridor for Ukrainian civilians to leave the capital, Kyiv, on Monday.

"We appeal to the people of Kyiv. All civilians in the city can freely leave the capital of Ukraine along the Kyiv-Vasilkov (Vasylkiv) highway. This route is open and safe," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Defense, said in a statement.

"Once again, I want to emphasize that the armed forces of the Russian Federation strike only military targets. The civilian population is not in danger."

At least 352 civilians in Ukraine have been killed since the invasion began, including 14 children, according to Ukraine's Interior Ministry. Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian forces of targeting civilian infrastructure, including residential buildings and schools.

Konashenkov's statement also included a baseless claim that the Ukrainian government was using Kyiv residents as a "human shield," repeating an allegation that Ukrainian "nationalists" have deployed artillery in residential areas of the capital.

CNN teams on the ground in Kyiv have seen firsthand Ukrainian civilian volunteers — even members of Parliament — taking up arms and making preparations to defend the capital.