The deputy mayor of Mariupol has said that his city no longer exists, so great is the destruction it has suffered in 50 days from “terrible bombings” by the Russian army.
Ergei Orlov said the Russian government is lying when it says it stopped the attack on the Azovstal Steel Plant – the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in the city – and said that Russia “continues to use the biggest bombs it has”.
Vladimir Putin congratulated Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at a TV session yesterday on the capture of Mariupol, but Mr Orlov said the congratulations were unjustified.
“I don’t know what he congratulates [his Minister for]Mariupol doesn’t exist anymore, it’s just a devastated area,” Deputy Mayor Orlov told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme.
Mr Orlov said the Russian army is “temporarily occupying” large parts of the city, but there is fierce resistance from Ukrainian defenders in parts of the city, particularly in Avozstal.
“They keep using tanks and artillery and they keep killing our civilians and destroying everything. The Ukrainian army is trying to defeat them, but the Russians have more soldiers and our city has been blocked for 50 days without supplies and aid,” Mr Orlov said.
There are still 500-700 civilians taking refuge in bunkers in Azovstal.
“It’s mainly families of factory workers who are hiding from the war, but now the war is coming to them,” he said. He said Russia was covering up war crimes such as the “genocide” in Mariupol because of “fears of an international response after the Bucha massacre.”
Satellite images have apparently shown mass graves near Mariupol, and local officials have accused Russia of burying up to 9,000 Ukrainian civilians there to hide the slaughter that took place during the port city’s siege.
Satellite image provider Maxar Technologies released the photos, which they said showed more than 200 mass graves in a city where Ukrainian officials say the Russians buried Mariupol residents killed in the fighting.
The images showed long lines of graves stretching away from an existing cemetery in the town of Manhush outside Mariupol.
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko accused the Russians of “concealing their military crimes” by taking the bodies of civilians out of the city and burying them in Manhush.
Mariupol City Council said in a post on messaging app Telegram on Thursday that the graves could contain as many as 9,000 dead.
It came as Russian forces tried to storm the base of the last Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, the Ukrainian military said.
Despite orders to the contrary from Vladimir Putin, troops are said to have attacked the Azovstal Steel Works, where the few thousand remaining Ukrainian troops in the besieged port city are hiding.
The Russian president previously said he had told his forces not to try to capture the facility but to blockade it.
Most of Mariupol is under Russian control and the city’s mayor Vadym Boychenko said around 100,000 residents remained trapped in the conflict zone.
A small convoy of buses evacuated people from Mariupol today and headed towards the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporhizhia, he said.
https://www.independent.ie/news/deputy-mayor-of-mariupol-says-his-city-no-longer-exists-as-satellite-images-show-what-appear-to-be-mass-graves-41576378.html The deputy mayor of Mariupol in Ukraine says his city no longer exists as satellite images appear to show mass graves after 50 days of “bombing” from Russia during the ongoing war