Ukrainian city of Mariupol ‘in the hands of the occupiers’: mayor


Russian forces are in control of large swaths of Mariupol after weeks of siege and bombardment, the city’s mayor Monday.

“Not everything is in our power,” Mayor Vadym Boichenko told CNN Monday. “Unfortunately, we are in the hands of the occupiers today.”

Boichenko said fewer than half of the city’s peacetime residents remained.

“According to our estimates, about 160,000 people are in the besieged city of Mariupol today, where it is impossible to live because there is no water, no electricity, no heat, no connection,” he said. “And it’s really scary.”

The apparent loss of Mariupol comes after nearly a month of heavy bombardment, and days of fierce street fighting.

The southern port city on the coast of the Sea of Azov has been the target of Russian ambitions since the start of the invasion last month, part of an effort to connect Russian forces in Crimea with forces in the separatist Donbas region to create one single front in Ukraine’s south.

In the process, the Kremlin has cut the city off from power, water and food, while shelling it from land and sea.

Alina Beskrovna, a Mariupol resident who escaped the city in a convoy of cars and made it to Poland, said that people in the city were melting snow for water and cooking on open fires despite the risk of bombardment, “because if you don’t, you will have nothing to eat.”

“Unfortunately, we are in the hands of the occupiers today.” said Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko.
Slowaskiego Theatre
A banner saying “children” in Russian and #savemariupol is seen by the entrance of the Slowaskiego Theatre.
Getty Images
Little girl in Ukraine
A girl walks in the courtyard of an apartment building destroyed in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 28, 2022.

“A lot of people are just, I think, starving to death in their apartments right now with no help,” she said. “It’s a mass murder that’s happening at the hands of the Russians.”

Russian actions in Mariupol have drawn stern condemnation from the international community.

A maternity ward was destroyed in a Russian airstrike on Mariupol earlier this month.

Local residents
Local resident transports belongings from his house destroyed.
Ukraine resident
Nearly 160,000 people are in the besieged city of Mariupol today.

Some 300 people were killed a week later when Russian forces bombed a theater that was serving as a civilian shelter. The theater was marked with large letters spelling “children” in Russian.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinkin cited both attacks when he accused Russian forces of war crimes last week.

The apparent fall of Mariupol comes after a string of successes by the Ukrainian forces, who claim to have taken back suburbs around the capital city of Kyiv as well as Trostyanets, a town south of Sumy in the country’s northeast.

Ukrainian forces also broke the Russian’s hold on Kherson, north of the Crimean Peninsula, last week, though it is unclear if the Ukrainian forces have taken total control of the city.

With Post wires

Credit: Source link