Russian shelling targets mosque sheltering civilians in Mariupol

Mar 12, 2022: Kyiv says more than 80 people, including Turkish citizens, were seeking refuge at the mosque when it was bombarded.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that Russian forces had shelled a mosque in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, where more than 80 adults and children had taken refuge. The ministry said in a tweet that Turkish citizens were among those seeking refuge in the mosque when it was bombed.

“The mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxolana (Hurrem Sultan) in Mariupol was shelled by Russian invaders,” the foreign ministry said. “More than 80 adults and children are hiding there from the shelling, including citizens of Turkey.”

They did not say whether anyone was killed or injured.

Moscow has denied targeting civilian areas, calling them a special military operation in Ukraine. Ukraine has accused Russia of refusing to allow people to leave Mariupol, where millions have been trapped by the blockade. Russia blames Ukraine for failing to evacuate.

Mariupol has been under siege and bombardment for more than two weeks and is under siege by Russian troops.

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Friday: “Besieged Mariupol is now the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet. 1,582 dead civilians in 12 days.”

Three people, including a child, were killed when a children’s hospital in the city was attacked on Wednesday, sparking international outrage.

Meanwhile, a new attempt is being made to open up a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to evacuate the city towards Zaporizhzhia, around 200km to the northeast, said Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

For days, Ukrainians have claimed that the Russian military has been pounding the evacuation route, preventing people from leaving.

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