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Buses ready to evacuate civilians from Sumy, Ukraine - Red Cross

FILE PHOTO: A Ukrainian service member walks past a bomb crater, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in the town of Okhtyrka, in the Sumy region, Ukraine March 14, 2022. Iryna Rybakova/Press service of the Ukrainian Ground Forces/Handout via REUTERS

More than 70 buses are ready in the besieged city of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine to evacuate civilians who have gathered ahead of a "safe passage" operation which the Red Cross hopes to start on Tuesday, a spokesperson said.

"People have assembled, we hope it will go ahead as planned," Watson, spokesperson of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told Reuters in Geneva. "We are hoping at the very least to start this operation today."

Earlier Watson told a U.N. briefing in Geneva that the ICRC and Ukrainian Red Cross were hoping to organise the evacuation of two convoys of some 30 buses to a safe area.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay)