Mayor: More than 10,000 civilians were killed in the Ukrainian port city

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – The mayor says corpses are now “carpeted in the streets” like Mariupol, after Russian troops killed more than 10,000 civilians over the past six weeks in a failed fight to seize the strategic southern port. A suspicious sequel to the Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday.

The British Defense Ministry says Russian troops continue to withdraw from Belarus in support of operations in eastern Ukraine, focusing on the Donbass region, where separatists affiliated with Russia have demanded independence.

“Fighting will intensify in eastern Ukraine in the next two or three weeks, and Russia will continue to focus on its efforts there,” the ministry said in a tweet. “Russian attacks focus on Ukrainian positions near Donetsk and Luhansk, and fighting around Gershon and Mykoliv and an renewed impetus towards Gramadorsk.”

The southeastern port city of Mariupol has suffered heavy casualties and civilian casualties in the 6-week war, but Russian forces’ land, sea and air strikes are increasingly controlling information about conditions within the city.

Speaking by phone to the Associated Press on Monday, Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko accused Russian forces of blocking humanitarian convoys within the city for weeks as part of a cover-up. Boychenko said the death toll in Mariupol alone would exceed 20,000.

Boychenko also provided new details on allegations by Ukrainian authorities that Russian forces had brought mobile cremation equipment to Mariupol to dispose of the bodies of victims of the siege.

Russian forces have taken several bodies to a large shopping center where there are storage facilities and refrigerators, Boychenko said.

“Mobile cremations have come in the form of trucks: you open it, there’s a pipe inside, and these bodies are burned,” he said.

Boychenko spoke from a place under Ukrainian control but outside of Mariupol. The mayor said he had several sources for details of alleged cremation of bodies by Russian forces in the city, but did not elaborate further on the sources of his information.

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After the withdrawal of Russian forces from cities and towns around the capital, Kyiv, a large number of openly executed civilians were found, provoking widespread condemnation and insistence that Russia was already committing war crimes in Ukraine.

U.S. officials have indicated that Russia’s military is preparing for a major offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region.

Donbass has been fighting between Russian-allied separatists and Ukrainian forces since 2014, and Russia has recognized the separatists’ demands for independence. Military strategists say Russian leaders hope local support, logistics and territory in Donbass will support Russia’s larger and better-armed military, which will allow Russian troops to gain more territory and weaken Ukrainian fighters.

Russia has appointed an experienced general to lead its renewed drive in the eastern Donbass region.

A senior U.S. defense official described Monday that a long Russian convoy was moving toward the eastern city of Izyum, backed by artillery, air traffic and infantry.

More artillery is being used near the city of Donetsk, while ground war units that have been evacuated from the Kiev and Chernihiv regions appear to have been ordered to re-assemble and redistribute before being stationed in Donbass, the official said, speaking anonymously to discuss the US domestically. Military ratings.

Their offensive was repulsed in many parts of the country, and Russian forces increasingly relied on bombing cities – which leveled many towns and killed thousands.

The United Nations Children’s Fund says nearly two-thirds of Ukrainian children have fled their homes in the six weeks since Russia’s invasion. The United Nations says 142 children have been killed and 229 injured, although the actual number may be higher.

Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of committing atrocities, including the massacre in Pucha.Air strikes on hospitals outside Kyiv And at least 57 people were killed in a missile attack on a train station last week.

In Pucha, the exhumation of bodies from the mass grave in the church resumed.

Galina Fioktistova waited for hours in the cold and rain hoping to identify her 50-year-old son who was shot a month ago, but eventually he went home for a little warmth. “He’s still there,” said Andre, her surviving son.

In Mariupol, about 120,000 civilians are without food, water, shelter and communication facilities, the mayor said.

Only residents past Russian “filtration camps” are being evacuated from the city, Boychenko said.

Ukrainian officials say Russian troops confiscate passports from Ukrainian citizens and then send them to camps in eastern Ukraine controlled by separatists in remote, economically disadvantaged areas of Russia.

Boychenko said on Monday that those who did not carry out the “filtering” were transferred to improved prisons. He said 33,000 or more people had been taken to separatist territory in Russia or Ukraine.

The Russians refused to move the people against their will.

President Volodymyr Zhelensky has warned Ukrainians that Russia could use chemical weapons in Mariupol. “We take this as seriously as possible,” Zhelensky said in his nightly speech on Monday.

Even before Russian troops entered Ukraine, Western leaders warned that Russia could look for unusual weapons there, especially chemical agents.

The separatist official with Russia, Edward Basurin, on Monday urged Russian state television to use Russian forces to seize a large metal plant in Mariupol from Ukrainian forces. “Then we will use chemical forces to get them out of there,” he said.

A Ukrainian battalion said on Monday that a drone had dropped a poisonous object at Mariupol without evidence. No serious injuries were reported.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that the United States could not confirm the drone report from Mariupol. But Kirby noted the administration’s continued concerns about “Russia’s ability to use various riot control agents in Ukraine, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents.”

Western military analysts say Russia’s offensive is increasingly focusing on the territory of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, extending as far north as Kersan.

After the Ukrainian guards were determined and thwarted their advance on Kiev, there were questions about the ability of the Russian forces to capture multiple bases and depress.


Karmanov reported from LV in Ukraine. Anna reported from Pucha, Ukraine. Associated Press writer Robert Burns in Washington and AP journalists around the world contributed to the report.


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