Russian bombing of Mariupol on Thursday prevented a humanitarian convoy from reaching the besieged Ukrainian city, dampening hopes of evacuating civilians from the town, local officials said.
Residents of the port city on the Black Sea have been trying for more than a week to protect themselves from the attacks and are without electricity or water. More than 400,000 people live in Mariupol, and attempts to agree a local ceasefire and safe passage out of the city have failed several times. And it appears that another “humanitarian corridor” also failed on Thursday, a day after a bombing of a hospital in the city that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said killed two adults and a child.
“Bombs are hitting houses,” Mariupol City Council said in a message. online published at a time when Ukrainian and Russian diplomats were negotiating in Turkey. According to the city council, a university and a theater were also hit, but the death toll was not reported.
Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, denies targeting civilians.
Pedro Andrushenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, told Reuters that Russian planes were trying to hit routes used by convoys carrying humanitarian aid to enter the city, and that buses were being prepared to evacuate people from the region.
“We’ve tried, and we’ve tried, and we’ve tried, but I’m not sure if it will be possible today – or on other days,” Andrushenko said by phone.
“The air raids started in the morning. Air raid after air raid. The entire historic center is being bombed,” added the aide to the mayor of Mariupol. Andrushenko said the shelling continued “without breaks, without pauses”, hitting homes and buildings on evacuation routes. “They want to erase our city, erase our people. They want to stop any retreat,” he said.
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Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News