Mayor: More than 10,000 civilians dead in Ukraine port city

KYIV: Six weeks of brutal Russian siege left more than 10,000 civilians dead in the southern port city of Mariupol and corpses “ carpeted the streets ”, said the mayor of that strangled city, as the West warned that a Russian convoy of soldiers and other weapons was moving for a suspected Russian planned attack in eastern Ukraine.
Mariupol was the site of some of the heaviest attacks and civilian casualties in the six-week war, but land, sea and air attacks by Russian forces are fighting to Occupying it increasingly limited information about the situation inside the city.
Speaking by phone Monday with the Associated Press, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko accused Russian forces of having for weeks intercepted humanitarian convoys trying to enter the city in part to hide the carnage there from the outside world. Boychenko said the death toll there could pass 20,000.
Boychenko also released new details about the allegations of Ukrainians Officials in recent weeks have suggested that Russian forces have brought portable cremation equipment to Mariupol to dispose of the bodies of victims of the siege.
Russian forces took many of the bodies to a giant shopping mall, where storage facilities and refrigerators were located, Boychenko said.
He said: “ Portable crematoriums have come in the form of trucks: You open it, there’s a pipe inside and these bodies are burned,” he said.
Boychenko spoke from a location in territory controlled by Ukraine but outside Mariupol. The mayor said he had several sources describing the methodical burning of bodies by Russian forces in the city, but did not elaborate further on his sources.
The discovery of a large number of civilians being executed after Russian forces withdrew from cities and towns around the capital Kyiv this month drew condemnation from Ukrainians and Western leaders. widely. Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine.
In a separate development, US officials pointed to new signs that the Russian military is preparing for a major offensive in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, shifting focus after Russian forces failed in the battle. initial campaign to capture Kyiv.
Donbas has been torn by skirmishes between allied Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces since 2014, and the separatists there have declared the nations independent. Military strategists say Russian leaders appear to be hoping for more local and logistical support and terrain in the Donbas in favor of Russia’s larger and better-equipped military, which has the ability to allow the Russian military to gain more territory and weaken Ukraine’s fighting force.
Russia has appointed a seasoned general to lead its renewal effort in the eastern Donbas region.
A senior US defense official on Monday described a long convoy of Russian vehicles currently rolling east of the city of Izyum with artillery, aviation and infantry support, as part of the process. redeployment for what appears to be a Russian campaign.
The official, who asked not to be named, added that artillery is being deployed near the city of Donetsk, while ground combat units have already withdrawn from the Kyiv and Chernihiv areas and appear to be planning to re-equip and resupply before they arrive. to the Donbas location, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss US internal affairs. military assessment.
With their offensive in many parts of the country thwarted, Russian forces increasingly rely on bombarding cities – a strategy that has flattened many urban areas and killed thousands.
The United Nations Children’s Agency says nearly two-thirds of Ukrainian children have run away from home within six weeks of the Russian invasion. The United Nations has verified that 142 children were killed and 229 injured, although the actual number is likely much higher.
Ukrainian authorities accuse Russian forces of carrying out atrocities, including a massacre in the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, air strikes on hospitals and a missile attack that left at least 57 people were killed last week at a train station.
In Bucha, work on exhuming the body from a mass grave in a church continued.
Galyna Feoktistova waited for hours in the freezing rain in hopes of identifying her 50-year-old son, who was shot dead more than a month ago, but she finally came home to warm up. Andriy, her surviving son, said: “ He’s still there.
In Mariupol, about 120,000 civilians are in dire need of food, water, warmth and communication, the mayor said.
Boychenko said that only residents who have passed through Russia’s “filter camps” will be taken out of the city.
Ukrainian officials say the Russian military is confiscating the passports of Ukrainian citizens, then transferring them to “filter camps” in Ukraine’s separatist-controlled east before sending them to regions. distant, economic downturn in Russia.
On Monday, Boychenko said those who did not pass the “filter” process were sent to improvised prisons. He put the number of people sent to Russia or the breakaway territories in Ukraine at 33,000 or more.
Russian has denied moving people against their will.
Chairperson Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned the Ukrainians that Russia could use chemical weapons in Mariupol. “We take this as seriously as we can,” Zelenskyy said in his Monday nightly address.
Western leaders warned even before Russian troops entered Ukraine that Russia could use unique weapons there, especially chemical poisons.
On Monday, a separatist official allied with Russia, Eduard Basurin, appeared to urge their use, telling Russian state TV that Russian-backed forces should seize a factory huge metal in Mariupol from the hands of Ukrainian forces by blocking all exits from the factory. He said: “ And then we will use chemical soldiers to suck them out of there.
A Ukrainian regiment, without evidence, also claimed on Monday that a drone had dropped a toxic substance in Mariupol. It turns out that there are no serious injuries.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that the US could not confirm the drone report leaving Mariupol. But Kirby noted the administration’s persistent concerns “ about Russia’s possible use of a variety of riot-control agents, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents, in Ukraine. ”
General Richard Barrons, co-chairman of the UK-based strategic consulting firm Universal Defense & Security Solutions, said Russian forces would likely attempt to encircle the Donbas region from the north and south as well as the north. bronze.
The ground in that part of Ukraine is flatter, more open and less wooded – so Ukrainian ambush tactics used around Kiev may be less successful, Barrons said.
Barrons said: “ In terms of results, it’s very balanced right now. If the Russians learn from previous failures, concentrate more forces, better connect their air forces with ground forces, and improve their logistics, he said, then they might eventually begin head to overwhelm the Ukrainian positions, although I still think it will be a huge battle of attrition. ”
Questions remain about the ability of dwindling and demoralized Russian forces to conquer much of the stronghold, after Ukrainian defenses resolutely repelled their advance into Kyiv.
The UK Ministry of Defense said on Monday that Ukraine had repelled several attacks by Russian forces in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk – they make up the Donbas – which resulted in Russian tanks, vehicles and artillery. destroyed.
Western military analysts say the Russian offensive is increasingly focused on an arc of territory stretching from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, in the north, to Kherson in the south.
A residential area in Kharkiv was hit by fire on Monday afternoon. Associated Press journalists witnessed firefighters putting out fires and examining victims after the attack, and found that at least five people were killed, including a child.
Oleh Synyehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, said earlier on Monday that Russian shelling had killed 11 people in the past 24 hours.

Source link


News5h: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button