According to Ukrainian officials, Russian “occupying troops” are moving quickly to clear the areas they bombed during the weeks-long offensive against Mariupol.
Petro Andrushchenko, an adviser to the city’s mayor, said the Russians had begun “dismantling the rubble” at Hospital No. 3, which was heavily bombed in March. Video of the aftermath of the bombing showed heavily pregnant women being taken from hospital; at least one later died.
“Now the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry is cleaning up there quickly,” Andrushechnko said. “Surprisingly, the plan to clean up the rubble coincides with the places of greatest destruction… the drama theater, Myru Avenue, and now it’s suddenly the hospital.”
The adviser said the Russians also tried to clear the port and reopen it, but a sunken ship still blocked access to the new port.
Like other Ukrainian officials, Andrushchenko is not in Mariupol, but says he is receiving information and video from residents.
Not enough water: He said many basements in the city are still under water due to damage to the water pipes and drinking water is largely inaccessible. Over the weekend, Andrushchenko posted a video of a long line of people waiting for water from tankers. “There are huge queues at the bottling points, but there is not enough water for everyone,” he said.
He said attempts to reconnect electricity had led to short circuits and fires.
Andrushchenko said there was still a high death rate in Mariupol, although, outside the besieged Azovstal factory, the Mariupol area is quiet.
The death rate is such that a new burial immediately appears at the site of excavated graves in the yards,” he said over the weekend.
The new Russian-backed government in the city has said little about its plans to revive the city, where thousands of buildings have been destroyed and damaged and 100,000 people still live.
Civilian casualties “in the thousands”: Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said last week that her office is continuing to investigate allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in Ukraine, “many of which could amount to war crimes.”
Speaking from Vienna at a special session of the Human Rights Council on Ukraine, Bachelet said her office estimates “the number of civilian casualties in Mariupol will run into the thousands” and that “the true extent” of alleged atrocities will only become clear over time. . She said it was difficult for her team to access and gather information in areas of intense hostilities, such as Mariupol.
Some background: Meanwhile, the Ukrainian General Staff said Russia is continuing with massive artillery and air strikes to block and destroy units trapped at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.
Several hundred wounded soldiers are trapped in the factory.
In his daily video message late Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said the government is “continuing very complicated and delicate negotiations to save our people from Mariupol, from Azovstal”.