Ukraine says seven killed, including a child, after Russia fired at evacuation convoy

LVIV, Ukraine, March 12 (Reuters) - Ukraine's intelligence service accused Russia on Saturday of firing at a convoy that was evacuating women and children from the village of Peremoha in the Kyiv region, killing seven people including one child.

The service - part of the defence ministry - initially said the convoy left the village in a "green corridor" which had previously been agreed with Russia.

But in a statement released late on Saturday, the service said this was not in fact the case and the convoy had left the village independently.

"This is very dangerous, because the occupying forces are ruthlessly destroying the civilian population," it said. "We urge all citizens who are in danger to follow the official information on evacuation routes and use only safe routes."

The service initially said that after the purported attack, which occurred on Friday, the Russian troops forced the remainder of the column back into the village.

Reuters was unable immediately to verify the report and Russia offered no immediate comment.

Ukraine has accused Russia of preventing evacuations from conflict zones by not respecting agreed cease-fires and firing at civilian targets.

Russia has denied targeting civilians since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24, and has blamed Ukraine for repeated stumbles in efforts to evacuate people from the worst-hit areas, including the southern port city of Mariupol.

The Russian bombardment, which Moscow calls a special operation, has trapped thousands of people in besieged cities and sent 2.5 million Ukrainians fleeing to neighbouring countries. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said earlier on Saturday that the conflict meant some small Ukrainian towns no longer existed.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Max Hunder and David Ljunggren; Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Frances Kerry and Grant McCool

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.