Ukraine’s city of Mariupol ‘going through hell’: Officials

Russian shelling targets mosque sheltering civilians in Mariupol

Mar 11, 2022: According to a report by Al Jazeera, civilians trapped in Ukraine’s Mariupol have gone through “two days of hell”, a local official said on Friday, claiming Russian attacks “every 30 minutes” have rendered futile any attempt at evacuations from the besieged port city.

According to officials, nearly 400,000 people remain in Mariupol, where Mayor Vadym Boychenko said Russian forces were continuing to “cynically, ruthlessly and purposefully” attack apartment buildings.

“Every 30 minutes, planes arrived over the city of Mariupol and worked on residential areas, killing civilians – the elderly, women, children,” he said in an online post. “Is this the greatness of the Russian army today?”

Authorities say not a single citizen escaped Mariupol on Thursday thanks to the shelling, despite attempts to enforce an agreed ceasefire. Petro Androshenko, the mayor’s adviser, said the Russians “want to eliminate our people. They want to prevent any evacuation.”

At least 1,300 people have been killed in the 10-day siege of the city, according to Ukrainian officials. The city is strategically important because its capture would allow Russia to link the pro-Moscow enclave in the east and Russia’s annexed Crimea in the south.

Russian strikes have also thwarted new attempts to send food, water and medicine to the city, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who said Russian forces launched a tank attack on a humanitarian corridor in the city on Thursday.

According to the Associated Press News Agency, the siege has left residents in Mariupol, where daytime temperatures remain just above freezing, in search of food and fuel, and in many areas heat and phone service, as well as electricity.

According to the AP, the bodies are being buried in mass graves, while the roads are littered with burnt cars, broken glass and scattered trees. According to Sacha Volkov, a local Red Cross official, grocery stores and pharmacies were emptied a few days ago. Volkov told the AP that there is a black market for vegetables, meat is not available, and people are stealing petrol from cars.

According to Volkov, “People started to attack each other for food.”

US Vice President Kamala Harris, on a visit to Ukraine’s neighbour Poland, backed calls for an international war-crimes investigation into the invasion, saying, “The eyes of the world are on this war and what Russia has done in terms of this aggression and these atrocities.”

But Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed concerns about civilian casualties in Ukraine as “pathetic shrieks” from Moscow’s enemies.

According to Lavrov, the hospital struck on Wednesday had stopped treating patients and had been occupied by Ukrainian “radicals”.

“They drove out the women in labour, nurses and general staff. It was the base of the ultra-radical Azov Battalion,” he said in Turkey, after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart there made little apparent progress.

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