Residents living in ‘inhuman conditions’ without food and water, Ukrainian president says
Evacuees escape from besieged city of Mariupol
Volodymyr Zelensky told the nation on Tuesday these residents were living in “inhuman conditions” without food, medicine and water as they faced “constant shelling” from Vladimir Putin’s troops.
“We are trying to organise stable humanitarian corridors for Mariupol residents, but almost all of our attempts, unfortunately, are foiled by the Russian occupiers, by shelling or deliberate terror,” he said.
The Ukrainian president said more than 7,000 civilians managed to be evacuated from the industrial port city under siege on Tuesday.
But he said 100,000 remained “under a full blockade” in Mariupol, where 430,000 residents lived before Russian invasion began on 24 February.
An estimated 80 per cent of the city’s infrastructure has been destroyed in the first four weeks of the war.
The local council said intense Russian air strikes were turning it into the “ashes of a dead land” amid street fighting and bombardments.
On Wednesday, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said nine humanitarian corridors had been agreed to evacuate stranded citizens across the country. But she signalled there was no agreement for Mariupol, saying residents would find transport in a nearby city instead.
While thousands have been able to flee in recent days, previous evacuation attempts have been abandonned with authorities accusing Russian troops of failing to respect an agreed truce.
Perched on the Sea of Azov, Mariupol is a crucial port for Ukraine and lies along a stretch of territory between Russia and Crimea. The siege has cut the city off from the sea and allowed Russia to establish a land corridor to Crimea.It was not clear how much of the city Russia holds nearly a month into the invasion, with fleeing residents saying fighting continues street by street.
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