15,000 civilians illegally deported from Mariupol to Moscow, officials say
March 24, 2022
Ukrainian officials on Thursday charged Russia with deporting about 15,000 civilians illegally from the city of Mariupol to Russia’s capital of Moscow, Reuters reported.
“Residents of the Left Bank district are beginning to be deported en masse to Russia. In total, about 15,000 Mariupol residents have been subjected to illegal deportation,” the Mariupol city council said in a statement.
Officials also said that civilians who remained trapped in the city of Mariupol, which has been heavily bombarded by Russia, are struggling to live without access to food, water, power, or heating, according to Reuters.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said at a video briefing that authorities are still working on securing an agreement with their Russian counterparts in the hope of opening a safe corridor to and from Mariupol for remaining residents.
Authorities also said that thousands of residents were taken by Russian forces to undisclosed areas across the border, with Russian news outlets reporting that buses had carried several hundred refugees from Mariupol to Russia in the past few days, Reuters reported.
This comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that the city of Mariupol has been “reduced to ashes” by Russian airstrikes.
Russian officials have denied targeting civilians, while the Biden administration on Wednesday formally accused Russia of committing war crimes.
Mariupol says 15,000 deported from besieged city to Russia
March 24, 2022
LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian authorities in besieged Mariupol said on Thursday about 15,000 civilians had been illegally deported to Russia since Russian forces seized parts of the southern port city.
Ukrainian officials say civilians trapped in Mariupol, which is normally home to about 400,000 people, face a desperate plight without access to food, water, power or heat.
Local authorities said on Sunday that thousands of residents had been taken by force across the border but did not provide a more precise figure. Russian news agencies said at the time that buses had carried several hundred people Moscow calls refugees from Mariupol to Russia in recent days.
“Residents of the Left Bank district are beginning to be deported en masse to Russia. In total, about 15,000 Mariupol residents have been subjected to illegal deportation,” Mariupol city council said in a statement issued on Thursday.
Russia denies targeting civilians in what President Vladimir Putin calls a “special military operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and the West say Putin launched an unprovoked war of aggression.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told a video briefing that Ukrainian authorities were continuing efforts to secure agreement from Russia to open a safe corridor to and from Mariupol.
Each side has blamed the other for the repeated failure to agree on arrangements to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, control of which would help Russia secure a land corridor to the Crimea peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video address to Italy’s parliament on Tuesday that there was “nothing left” in Mariupol after weeks of Russian bombardment.
A Reuters team that reached a Russian-controlled part of Mariupol on Sunday described a wasteland of charred apartment blocks and bodies wrapped in blankets lying by a road.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Writing by Timothy Heritage, Editing by Nick Macfie)