Nearly 5,000 people killed in Mariupol during invasion, officials say
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said Monday almost 5,000 people have been killed in the Ukrainian city since the Russian invasion began.
Among the dead are 210 children, according to the mayor, as hundreds of thousands have fled the city, Reuters reported.
The city estimates 150,000 fled Mariupol after Russia’s attack and another 140,000 left before the invasion began.
Boichenko said 170,000 individuals are still trapped in the city, which has been a central part of the humanitarian crisis.
Critical utilities and food have been cut off, and buildings from hospitals to schools have been shelled as Russia has focused its attack on the city due to its strategic importance.
The city has seen 40 percent of its buildings destroyed, and 90 percent damaged, according to Boichenko.
“The Russian Federation is playing with us. We are in the hands of the invaders,” Boichenko said, according to Reuters.
“People are beyond the line of humanitarian catastrophe,” he added. “We need to completely evacuate Mariupol.”
If Russia is able to take Mariupol, they could create a land bridge to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
As the humanitarian situation deteriorates, Ukrainian officials say it isn’t possible to create corridors to help people flee due to “provocations” that are possible from Russia.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna said Sunday that Russia refused to guarantee safety for individuals if humanitarian corridors were created.
On Tuesday, Russia said it will be reducing its military presence around Kyiv after negotiations between Ukraine and Russia saw significant progress on Monday.