Shocking drone footage reveals devastation in besieged city of Mariupol

23 March 2022, 16:35 | Updated: 23 March 2022, 16:43

By Sophie Barnett

Shocking drone footage shows the damage Russian forces have dealt in the city of Mariupol in Ukraine, which has seen some of the war's worst devastation.

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The video, released by Azov Battalion, a far-right paramilitary group absorbed into the Ukrainian National Guard, shows decimated buildings and streets in the southeastern city of Ukraine.

The bloodied port city has been destroyed by Vladimir Putin's forces - becoming the scene of some of the war's worst devastation.

"This is Mariupol today," the Azov Battalion wrote as they shared the devastating footage.

"Like a dead city shot by the enemy. But it will live. People are breathing there - hungry, in the basements of burning houses.

"Their hearts are still beating under the rubble in the hope of salvation. Mariupol is in pain. However, he is still a living organism waiting to be saved."

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Earlier today, Ukrainian leaders accused Russia of seizing 15 rescue workers and drivers from a humanitarian convoy trying to get desperately needed food and other supplies into Mariupol.

Ukraine's President Volodymr Zelenskyy said 100,000 residents are estimated to be stuck in Mariupol and accused Russian forces of blocking the aid convoy despite agreeing to the route ahead of time.

"We are trying to organise stable humanitarian corridors for Mariupol residents but almost all of our attempts, unfortunately, are foiled by the Russian occupiers, by shelling or deliberate terror," he said.

The Red Cross confirmed a humanitarian aid convoy trying to reach the city had not been able to enter.

Those who have made it out of Mariupol alive have described a shattered city.

Viktoria Totsen, who fled into Poland, described being "bombed for the past 20 days".

"During the last five days, the planes were flying over us every five seconds and dropped bombs everywhere - on residential buildings, kindergartens, art schools, everywhere," she said.

The hands of one exhausted Mariupol survivor shook as she arrived by train in the western city of Lviv.

"There's no connection with the world. We couldn't ask for help," said Julia Krytska, who was helped by volunteers to make it out with her husband and son.

"People don't even have water there."

Mr Zelenskyy said more than 7,000 people were evacuated from Mariupol on Tuesday alone.

Those who remain suffer "in inhuman conditions, under a full blockade, without food, without water, without medicine and under constant shelling, under constant bombardment", he said.

Before the war, 430,000 people lived in Mariupol, it's estimated just 100,000 remain.

Perched on the Sea of Azov, Mariupol is a crucial port for Ukraine and lies along a stretch of territory between Russia and Crimea. The siege has cut the city off from the sea and allowed Russia to establish a land corridor to Crimea.

It's not clear how much of the city Russia holds, with fleeing residents saying fighting continues street by street.