regular-article-logo Saturday, 23 September 2023

Russia wants to wipe out Mariupol: Mayor

This is genocide, there is no other way to call what is happening, says Vadym Boychenko

Kaly Soto Published 29.03.22, 03:17 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo.

The mayor of the besieged port of Mariupol said Ukrainian forces were still defending the city and accused the Russian military of committing “genocide”.

“The task was to wipe the city off the face of the earth along with its inhabitants,” mayor Vadym Boychenko said of the Russian troops in an interview with the UNIAN news agency that was posted on Sunday. “This is genocide, there is no other way to call what is happening.”


Boychenko insisted that the city, which has been bombarded for weeks by the Russian troops that have surrounded it, has not been captured.

“Today the city of Mariupol remains a Ukrainian city,” he said. “Our military is doing everything to keep it that way in the future.”

Still, defence analysts have said the city could soon fall into Russian hands. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said on Sunday that he had urged soldiers defending the city to withdraw if their survival was at risk, but said they had remained because they feared abandoning civilians and their dead and wounded comrades.

Among the dead are at least 300 people who were killed in a Russian strike on a drama theatre that was being used as a shelter. Boychenko said that because of continuing shelling, the site had not yet been cleared of bodies.

The mayor said that about half the population of the largely Russian-speaking city, which had 540,000 residents before the war began, has evacuated.

He spoke of terrible conditions endured by those who remain, saying that Russian troops had methodically knocked out power, water and communications to the city, and destroyed nearly 90 percent of the houses.

And he said the City Council’s figure of more than 2,100 civilians killed in Mariupol was outdated. “I don’t want to scare anyone,” he said. “I can say for sure that this figure is already much higher.”

Nearly 5,000 people have been killed, a spokesperson for the city mayor said on Monday, quoting data from the mayor’s office.

(New York Times News Service and Reuters)

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