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Russia continues demolishing buildings in occupied Mariupol to conceal its crimes against civilians, Ukraine says

A man walks past a destroyed street in Mariupol on 17 April 2022. Credit: Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters
Russia continues demolishing buildings in occupied Mariupol to conceal its crimes against civilians, Ukraine says

Russia’s occupation authorities in Mariupol City, Donetsk Oblast, are planning to demolish 16 detached houses and one shopping center to eliminate traces of their crimes, the city council said on Telegram.

Russia’s aggression has caused a humanitarian catastrophe in Mariupol, with almost 90% of the city destroyed in artillery and air attacks.

Residential houses, hospitals, schools, kindergartens, and businesses have been damaged or destroyed, and a large number of civilians have been killed. To conceal its war crimes, Russia has demolished 465 buildings in the city with nearly 33,500 apartments in them.

Currently, the occupying forces have turned Mariupol and surrounding areas into a military base, according to the advisor to the Mayor of Mariupol, Petro Andriushchenko.

Residents of the city have been used by Russian soldiers as a “human shield” while having no access to heating after heavy bombardments ruined critical infrastructure. Consequently, the people are freezing in their apartments, which are gradually deteriorating, he says.

In addition, Russians have dismantled the torture facility where Ukrainians have been subjected to torment for opposing the occupation. 

“Russians are demolishing the main torture facility in Mariupol on Metalurhiv Avenue. It’s the same story as with the drama theater — simply erasing the traces,” Andriushchenko wrote on Telegram.

He explained that this is a part of the Central Police Department building, where the main filtration point for Ukrainians and the primary torture facility was located.

Marіupol residents on brink as Russian occupation authorities ignore heating crisis

The occupiers have also failed to address a garbage disposal crisis in Mariupol as the equipment needed to clean the city was looted earlier.

In addition, invaders installed a Christmas tree near the ruins of the Drama Theater destroyed by Russian attacks. On March 16, 2022, Russian occupiers deliberately dropped two bombs on the building of the theater despite the “Children” inscription written on the ground near it, killing nearly 600 civilians.

Despite the extensive propaganda efforts from Russia, the Mariupol partisan movement, aiming for liberation, continues to thrive.

On 16 December, members of the Mariupol resistance claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack targeting a Russian military officer from Caucasus units. The Russian officer is currently hospitalized, according to the partisans.

Guerilla blitz: partisans in south Ukraine bomb Russian officer and fuel train

Meanwhile, “20 Days in Mariupol,” a documentary film by photojournalist and filmmaker Mstyslav Chernov, has been shortlisted for the Oscars Awards in the Documentary Feature Film and International Feature Film categories, according to the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The reporters who remained in the city captured what later became defining images of the war: dying children, mass graves, the bombing of a maternity hospital, and more,” the film’s official website reads.

The world first saw the movie at the Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition section, where it received the Audience Award.

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