A total of 1,207 civilians have died during a nine-day siege by Russian forces of Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol, its local authorities said Wednesday.
The first nine days of the Russian siege saw “1,207 peaceful Mariupol residents dying”, the authorities of the southeastern city on the Azov Sea posted on Telegram.
Asked to confirm the toll, the press service of the presidency said: “We don’t have the exact figure. But preliminarily, that’s true.”
Earlier Wednesday, a Russian air strike seriously damaged a children’s hospital in the city of more than 400,000, injuring 17 staff, in an attack condemned by President Volodymyr Zelensky as an “atrocity” and described as “barbaric” by the White House.
The city authorities said Mariupol had experienced “nine days of continuous shelling of the civilian population” with “half a million people without light, water, heat and communications“.
Several evacuation efforts have failed and Ukrainian ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova said Wednesday that the city faces a humanitarian crisis, while the planned evacuation route to Zaporizhzhia in the northwest has not been demined.
The city’s mayor Vadym Boichenko posted a video in which he said: “My heart today is full of rage.”
“Today Russia led by its leader President (Vladimir) Putin carried out an air strike on a peaceful city, firing on a children’s hospital,” he said.
“They wanted to take away the lives of our children, our women, our doctors.”
He asked for Ukraine’s international partners to help and for a no-fly zone to be established over Ukraine.
“We will hold on to the end,” he vowed.