Heartbreaking aerial pictures show of destruction in city where more than 2,100 killed

Ukraine: Russian forces bomb mosque in Mariupol

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Aerial images taken on Saturday by private US firm Maxar revealed fires raging in the besieged city of Mariupol and dozens of apartment buildings heavily damaged. Residential areas in the city of around 400,000 have been flattened by days of relentless bombardment.

Maxar confirmed that fires were burning in the city’s western districts where high-rise buildings have been targeted by Russian bombing and shelling.

Russian troops have escalated attacks on the port city in recent days.

Local authorities have said that more than 2,100 residents in the city have been killed since fighting began, with 600 people reportedly killed between Saturday and Sunday, although these figures have not yet been independently verified.

Officials said on Sunday afternoon that the city had been subjected to 22 bombing attacks in the past 24 hours.

400,000 citizens remain in hiding as Vladimir Putin’s forces stepped up attacks this weekend, many of whom face freezing conditions with no access to food or water.

In a post on Telegram on Saturday, Mariupol city council said: “As of today, 2,187 Mariupol residents have died from attacks by Russia.

“People are in a serious situation for 12 days. There is no electricity, water, or heat in the city, there is almost no mobile communication, and the last supplies of food and water are running out.”

Officials added: “The situation in Mariupol continues to be very difficult. The city has no electricity, water, heat, almost no mobile communication, is running out of food and water,” officials said.

The council accused Russian forces and the separatist militia supporting them of “deliberately firing on residential neighbourhoods.

Russian forces shelled a mosque on Saturday sheltering at least 80 civilians while local officials said on Sunday Mariupol University had also been targeted.

They said around 100 aerial bombs had been dropped on the city, including on a maternity and children’s hospital which was hit on Wednesday. The strike killed three people including one child, and injured 17 others.

The strike sparked international condemnation, with Putin accused of committing war crimes.

There have also been reports of fires at the city’s oil depots and warehouses as Russia continued its advance towards the capital Kyiv.

The United Nations has reported looting and violent fights in Mariupol since the attacks began.

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said: “There are reports of looting and violent confrontations among civilians over what little basic supplies remain in the city.

“Medicines for life-threatening illnesses are quickly running out, hospitals are only partially functioning, and the food and water are in short supply.”

Mariupol is one of several Ukrainian cities to be evacuated on Saturday.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said at least 13,000 people managed to flee the city, which is almost twice the number that left the previous day.

Russia has been blamed for obstructing the evacuation of citizens from Mariupol while Moscow has accused Ukrainian forces of internationally trapping people in the city.

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Conditions in the city have been described as “horror”.

People are reportedly being forced to melt down snow to drink and chop wood to burn in attempts to keep warm.

In a statement on Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that the humanitarian situation in the city was “increasingly dire and desperate.”

The ICRC said: “The humanitarian situation in the city of Mariupol is becoming increasingly dire and desperate. Hundreds of thousands of people have no food, water, heat, electricity, or medical care. People urgently need respite from violence and humanitarian aid.”

According to the UN, over two million people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began on 24 February.

Ukraine is working to open up evacuation routes for civilians to escape affected areas.

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