BREAKING: Russia declares humanitarian ceasefire in Mariupol, Ukraine

Greek City Times Breaking News athens

Russian forces will stop firing at 10:00 a.m. Moscow time to allow humanitarian corridors to leave the Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Volnovaka, the Russian Defence Ministry said according to Interfax.

The mayor of Mariupol had earlier warned that the city had been "blocked" by Russian forces and called for a humanitarian corridor that would allow citizens to leave safely.

Mayor Vadym Boychenko has previously stated that the city has no water, heating or electricity and that food supplies are low.

"For now, we are looking for solutions to humanitarian problems and all possible ways to get Mariupol out of the blockade," said Boychenko.

He called for a ceasefire and a humanitarian corridor for food and medicine.

The wider area of ​​Mariupol is home to about 120,000 members of the ethnic Greek community, dating back to the 18th century.

At least 10 have been confirmed dead, with Kiev blaming Russian bombardment and Moscow blaming the Ukrainian neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, a unit of the country's Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Meanwhile, Russia’s communications regulator says it blocked Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook in response to what it said were restrictions of access to Russian media on its platform, more than a week after Moscow invaded its neighbour Ukraine.

The regulator, Roskomnadzor, said on Friday there had been 26 cases of discrimination against Russian media by Facebook since October 2020, with access restricted to state-backed channels like RT and the RIA news agency.

The company this week said it had restricted access to RT and Sputnik across the European Union and was globally demoting content from Russian state-controlled outlets’ Facebook pages and Instagram accounts.

Last week, Moscow said it was partially limiting access to Facebook, a move the company said came after it refused a government request to stop the independent fact-checking of several Russian state media outlets.

Meanwhile, Tass news agency reported on Friday that Russia had restricted access to Twitter. Interfax news agency earlier said the service had been blocked.

Twitter Inc did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meta’s head of global affairs Nick Clegg said the company would continue to do everything it could to restore its services.

“Soon millions of ordinary Russian will find themselves cut off from reliable information, deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and friends and silenced from speaking out,” he said, in a statement posted on Twitter.

Roskomnadzor said Meta had restricted access to the accounts of state-backed news outlets in recent days, listing RT, Sputnik, the RIA news agency, the defence ministry’s Zvezda TV and websites and

It said such restrictions violated the key principles of freedom of information and Russian internet users’ unimpeded access to Russian media.

An AFP news agency journalist in Moscow confirmed Facebook was not working but Facebook-owned Instagram was still accessible.

The move comes amid an unprecedented government crackdown on independent media and activists since the start of the Russian invasion.

The country’s key remaining liberal media outlets have been shut down in recent days and a new law introducing harsh jail terms for publishing “fake news” about the war in Ukraine has forced others to abstain from covering that topic.

This comes as Russians could face prison sentences of up to 15 years for spreading information that goes against the Russian government’s position on the war in Ukraine, a move that comes as authorities block access to foreign media outlets.

The Russian parliament voted unanimously Friday to approve a draft law criminalising the intentional spreading of what Russia deems to be “fake” reports.

READ MORE: Ukrainian crisis: How much is Greece losing from the freezing of exports to Russia?