Russia declared ceasefire on Saturday for five-and-a-half hours starting from 11:30 a.m. [IST] to facilitate the evacuation of civilians and stranded international students in Ukraine due to continuous shelling for the last 10 days, RIA reported.

During their second round of peace talks on Thursday, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators agreed on the establishment of humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilians and on a temporary cessation of hostilities along the evacuation routes.

The Russian defense ministry said in a statement that it was declaring a ceasefire starting 9am Saturday, Moscow time. As part of the ceasefire, opening "humanitarian corridors" to allow civilians to leave the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha.

Earlier, the mayor of Mariupol, which has been under siege since Thursday, called for a humanitarian corridor amid ongoing attacks from Russian troops. 

'9,166 Russian personnel dead since Ukraine invasion began'
9,166 Russian personnel dead since Ukraine invasion began, say reportsIANS

The unilateral gesture by Russia is also seen as a response to mounting demand from other countries including India to allow safe passage of international students and civilians stranded in the war-torn capital and major cities of Ukraine. However, the current ceasefire in only two eastern cities is unlikely to ease the situation. 

On its part, Russia wants humanitarian corridor through the cities in its full control and the new "humanitarian corridors" to allow civilians to leave the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, fall clearly in the eastern region.

On Tuesday, an Indian student was killed in Kharkiv, while another was shot at while fleeing the country on Thursday.

Indian officials said the Indian government has sought a ceasefire to allow students safe passage out of the country but it has been declared only in the eastern region which had been recognized by  Russia as independent. 

Russia and Ukraine crisis Pictures

The Indian embassy estimates that around 1,700 students are waiting to be evacuated from Ukraine. Around 300 of them in Kharkiv and about 700 in Sumy city are reportedly stranded in Ukraine, according to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.