Thousands of civilians dead – Russian focus now on Mariupol

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According to Ukrainian sources, Russian forces are still concentrating on capturing the southern port city of Mariupol after their withdrawal from the capital Kiev region. According to the city government, which was deployed by pro-Russian forces, about 5,000 civilians have been killed in the fighting there so far. As Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Wereshtschuk also reported, more than 4,500 people were taken to safety from the conflict zones on Thursday.

Mariupol’s “new mayor” Konstantin Ivashchenko told state news agency TASS, according to excerpts from an interview published earlier on Thursday, that “60 to 70 percent” of all apartments in the city had also been destroyed or damaged.

300,000 people still in Mariupol
Ivashchenko also estimated that 250,000 people had left the city, but that at least as many, if not 300,000 people were still in the city. Ukraine, on the other hand, estimates that 100,000 people still live in the city, where the humanitarian situation is catastrophic. Ukrainian authorities had also estimated the number of civilian casualties at “tens of thousands” and the destruction at “90 percent”.

Russian conquest in the coming days?
Military experts from the American Institute for War Studies (ISW) noted in their latest Ukraine analysis that Russian forces could “probably” complete the capture of Mariupol in the coming days. Russian state television had reported that the center of the city on the Sea of ​​Azov had already been taken. But there are still 3,000 Ukrainian fighters in the city, it said.

Air raids also in the areas of Luhansk and Donetsk
The Ukrainian General Staff report also states that Russian forces are also targeting an offensive around the city of Izyum in the Kharkiv region of the east of the country they occupy. According to information from Kiev, Moscow had recently concentrated troops there to advance toward the city of Slovyansk in the Donetsk region. Russian airstrikes and shelling with rocket launchers continued in several cities in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

About 1,200 of the 4,500 evacuees on Thursday came from besieged Mariupol, and about 2,000 more from various towns in the Zaporizhzhya region, Wereshchuk said. About 1,400 people were also evacuated from the Luhansk region in the east of the country from the cities of Lisichansk, Sievjerodonetsk, Rubischne and Kreminna. The Ukrainian government announced ten escape corridors across the country on Thursday morning. The routes are re-established every day.

Mutual accusations
Moscow said more than 2,000 people had been evacuated from Mariupol within 24 hours without the intervention of Ukrainian authorities. Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly accused each other of sabotaging the evacuation of cities.

Brits: ‘Complete withdrawal of Russia from northern Ukraine’
According to British information, Russian forces have completely withdrawn from northern Ukraine to Belarus and Russia. At least some of these troops would be transferred to eastern Ukraine to fight in the Donbass region, the Ministry of Defense announced on Twitter on the basis of information from military intelligence.

Authorities found 26 bodies in Borodyanka
Meanwhile, following the withdrawal of Russian troops from the northern Ukrainian city of Borodyanka, dozens of bodies have been discovered in residential areas, according to Ukrainian sources. “Twenty-six bodies were found under the rubble of two apartment buildings alone,” Ukrainian Attorney General Iryna Venediktova said. It is “impossible to predict” how many more dead will be found in the city northwest of Kiev.

Source: Krone

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