Kyiv, Ukraine (AFP) – Workers digging through the rubble of an apartment building in Mariupol have found 200 bodies in the basement, Ukrainian authorities said Tuesday, as more atrocities emerged in the devastated city that has seen some of the worst suffering for residents. 3 month old war.
The corpses are decomposing and the stench is spreading through the neighbourhood, Petro Andryushenko, an advisor to the mayor, said. He did not when they were discovered, but the sheer number of casualties makes it one of the deadliest attacks of the war.
Meanwhile, heavy fighting continued in Donbass, the eastern industrial area that Russian forces intended to take over. Russian forces intensified their efforts to encircle and capture Sievierodonetsk and neighboring cities.
Mariupol was relentlessly bombed during a nearly three-month siege that ended last week After some 2,500 Ukrainian fighters abandoned a steel plant in which they had made their position. Russian forces actually controlled the rest of the city, with an estimated 100,000 pre-war residents remaining outside the city of 450,000, many of whom were trapped during the siege with little food, water, heating, or electricity..
At least 21,000 people were killed in the siege, according to Ukrainian authorities Russia was accused of trying to cover up the atrocities by bringing in mobile cremation equipment and burying the dead in mass graves.
During the attack on Mariupol, Russian air strikes hit a maternity hospital A theater where civilians take shelter. An Associated Press investigation found that nearly 600 people died in the attack on the theater of operations, double the number estimated by Ukrainian authorities.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russians of waging a “total war” and seeking to inflict as much death and destruction as possible on his country.
“In fact, there has been no such war on the European continent for 77 years,” Zelensky said, referring to the end of World War II.
Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces in the Donbass for eight years and occupying swathes of territory. Sievierodonetsk and neighboring cities are the only part of the Luhansk region in Donbass that is still under the control of the Ukrainian government.
British military authorities said that Russian forces had achieved “some local successes” despite strong Ukrainian resistance along the excavated sites.
Ukrainian media reported that Russian forces had also taken control of the town of Svetlodarsk and raised the Russian flag there. Svetlodarsk is located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southeast of the strategically important city of Kramatorsk.
Two senior Russian officials appeared to acknowledge that Moscow’s progress had been slower than expected, despite their pledge that the offensive would achieve its goals.
Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Security Council. “Do not chase deadlines,” the Russian government said. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told a meeting of the Russian-led security alliance of the former Soviet Union that Moscow was slowing its offensive to allow residents of besieged cities to evacuate – even though the troops had repeatedly hit civilian targets.
As Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, recovered from weeks of weeks-long bombardment, residents formed long queues to receive rations of flour, pasta, sugar and other staples this week. Russian forces withdrew from the vicinity of Kharkiv earlier this month, retreating towards the Russian border.
Galina Kolymbed, the aid distribution center coordinator, said more and more people are returning to the city. Coulimpid said the center provides food to more than 1,000 people each day, a number that is constantly growing.
“A lot of them have young children, and they spend their money on kids, so they need some support with food,” she said.
Picatoros reported from Kramatorsk, Ukraine. Associated Press reporters Juras Karmanau in Lviv, Andrea Rosa in Kharkiv, Danica Kirka in London, and other AP workers around the world contributed.
Follow the AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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