Russians keep pressure on Mariupol after hospital attack – Press Enterprise


Mariupol, Ukraine — Civilians trapped in Mariupol desperately searched for food and fuel as Russian forces continued their bombardment of the port city on Thursday, while an airstrike the day before that killed three people at a maternity hospital drew international condemnation became.

Western and Ukrainian officials called the attack on a hospital on Wednesday a war crime by Moscow. Meanwhile, top-level talks have yielded no progress since the invasion began two weeks ago, the number of refugees fleeing the country surpassed 2.3 million, and Kyiv braced for an attack, with the mayor boasting that that the capital has become a virtual fortress protected by armed civilians.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, more than 1,300 people died in the ten-day siege of the cold city of Mariupol.

The southern port city’s 430,000 residents have neither heating nor telephone connections, and many have no electricity. Nighttime temperatures regularly dip below freezing, and daytime temperatures usually hover just above. Corpses are buried in mass graves.

Grocery stores and pharmacies were emptied days ago by people breaking in to get supplies, according to local Red Cross official Sacha Volkov. There is a black market for vegetables, meat is unavailable and people steal gasoline from cars, Volkov said.

Places protected from bombing raids are hard to find, with basements reserved for women and children, he said. Residents, Volkov, attack each other: “People started attacking each other over food.”

Repeated attempts to send in food and medicine and evacuate civilians have been thwarted by Russian shelling, Ukrainian authorities said.

“They want to annihilate the people of Mariupol. They want to starve them,” Vereshchuk said. “This is a war crime.”

A child was also killed in the airstrike on a hospital in Mariupol. In addition, 17 people were injured, including women waiting to give birth, doctors and children buried in the rubble. Images of the attack, with pregnant women covered in dust and blood, dominated news reports in many countries.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Russian leaders that the invasion would backfire as their economy would be strangled. Western sanctions have already dealt a severe blow, plunging the ruble, fleeing foreign companies and sending prices up sharply.

“You will definitely be prosecuted for aiding and abetting war crimes,” Zelenskyy said in a video address. “And then it will definitely happen that you will be hated by Russian citizens – by everyone who has cheated you constantly, daily, for many years in a row, when they feel the consequences of your lies in their wallets, in their shrinking opportunities, in the stolen ones future of Russian children.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed such talks, saying the country had endured sanctions before.

“Just as we have overcome these difficulties in the past few years, we will overcome them now,” he said at a televised meeting of government officials. However, he acknowledged that the sanctions create “certain challenges”.

In addition to those who have fled the country, millions have been displaced from their homes in Ukraine. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said about 2 million people – half of the metropolitan area’s population – have left the capital.

“Every street, every house…is paved,” he said. “Even people who never intended to change their clothes in their lives are now in uniform with machine guns in hand.”

On Thursday, a 14-year-old girl named Katya was recovering at the Brovary Central District Hospital on the outskirts of Kyiv after her family was ambushed while trying to flee the area. She was shot in the hand when her car received gunfire from a roadside forest, said her mother, who identified herself only as Nina.

The girl’s father, who drove frantically from an ambush with blown tires, underwent surgery. His wife said he was shot in the head and had two fingers ripped off.

Western officials said Russian forces had made little progress on the ground in recent days and are seeing heavier casualties and heavier Ukrainian resistance than Moscow appeared to have anticipated. But Putin’s troops have used air power to strike Ukrainian cities.

Zelenskyi said 35,000 people managed to get out of several besieged cities on Wednesday and further efforts were underway on Thursday.

The Mariupol City Council released a video showing buses driving down a highway. It was said that a convoy with food and medicine was on its way. But as night fell, it was unclear whether those buses had reached the city.

French President Emmanuel Macron called the airstrike on the hospital “a shameful and immoral act of war”. British Armed Forces Secretary James Heappey said whether the hospital was hit by indiscriminate fire or deliberately attacked “it is a war crime”.

US Vice President Kamala Harris, on a visit to Ukraine’s neighbor Poland, backed calls for an international probe into the invasion over war crimes, saying: “The eyes of the world are on this war and what Russia has done in relation to this aggression.” has these atrocities.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed concerns about civilian casualties as “pathetic shouting” from Russia’s enemies and denied that Ukraine had been attacked at all.

He also claimed, without providing evidence, that the Mariupol hospital had been seized by far-right radical fighters who were using it as a base – despite photos of the aftermath showing pregnant women and children at the scene.

Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba held talks at a Turkish Mediterranean resort for the first meeting of foreign ministers since the invasion.

The two sides discussed a 24-hour ceasefire but made no progress, Kuleba said. He said Russia was still looking for a “surrender to Ukraine”.

“That’s not what they’re going to get,” he added.

Lavrov said Russia was ready for further negotiations, but showed no signs of softening Moscow’s demands.

Russia has claimed that western-looking, US-backed Ukraine poses a threat to its security. Western officials suspect Putin wants to install a pro-Moscow government in Kyiv in order to regain his grip on the former Soviet state.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, 91-year-old Alevtina Shenina sat wrapped in a blanket, an electric heater at her feet, when cold air came in through a damaged window. She survived the brutal siege of Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, during World War II.

Her daughter-in-law Natalia said she was angry that Shernina “began her life in Leningrad under the siege as a girl who starved, lived in cold and hunger, and ended her life in similar circumstances.”

“There were fascists and here are fascists who came and bombed our buildings and windows,” she said.


Associated Press journalists Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Ukraine and Felipe Dana and Andrew Drake in Kyiv, Ukraine contributed along with other reporters from around the world.


Follow AP’s coverage of the Ukraine crisis at


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