It’s Monday night in kyiv. Here’s what you need to know
The mayor of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol said on Monday that his city was “in the hands of the occupiers” after a week-long siege by Russian forces razed the city, left an unknown number of civilians dead and forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes.
“It’s not all in our power,” Vadym Boichenko, the pro-government mayor of Mariupol, said in a live TV interview. “Unfortunately, we are now in the hands of the occupiers.”
Boichenko called for a “complete evacuation” of the remaining population of Mariupol, which numbered more than 400,000 before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
“According to our estimates, around 160,000 people are today in the besieged city of Mariupol, where it is impossible to live because there is no water, no electricity, no heating, no connection “, did he declare. “And it’s really scary.”
It was unclear if there was still active fighting inside the city.
Ukrainian officials claimed that Russian forces prevented aid convoys from approaching or leaving the town safely. A pro-Russian separatist leader said on Sunday that around 1,700 Mariupol residents were “evacuated” from the town and surrounding areas daily, but Ukrainian officials say the Russians actually carried out what they describe as the forced deportation of thousands of people to Russia.
“We need a full evacuation of Mariupol,” Boichenko said. “Our most important mission today is to save all lives… And there is hope that we will succeed. For example, there are 26 buses that need to go to Mariupol to evacuate, but unfortunately, they haven’t been given permission to move. And this game is played every day. A cynical game like, ‘Yes, we’re ready. You can drive there’, but in fact, it doesn’t work. Our heroic drivers under fire are trying to reach the places where the people of Mariupol can be picked up, and they are waiting with the hope that they will have such an opportunity. But the Russian Federation has been playing with us since day one.”
Statistics released by Ukrainian officials on Sunday paint a grim picture of the outcome of weeks of shelling and urban fighting in Mariupol.
According to these figures, 90% of the city’s residential buildings were damaged, of which 60% were directly affected and 40% were destroyed.
Seven of the city’s hospitals – 90% of the city’s hospital capacity – were damaged, three of which were destroyed. Three maternities (including one destroyed), seven institutes of higher education (including three destroyed) and 57 schools and 70 kindergartens, including 23 and 28 destroyed respectively, were also damaged.
A number of factories were damaged and the city’s port suffered damage.
According to these official statistics, up to 140,000 people left the city before it was surrounded, and about 150,000 managed to leave during the blockade. At the height of the siege, around 170,000 people remained in the city and Ukrainian authorities say 30,000 people from Mariupol were deported to Russia.