Shocking drone footage shows scale of destruction in besieged city of Mariupol

14 March 2022, 15:21 | Updated: 14 March 2022, 18:25

Drone footage shows extent of destruction in Mariupol

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Shocking drone footage shows the scale of destruction in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

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The harrowing clip shows an explosion as Russian artillery strikes a high-rise building. Thick black plumes of smoke rise into the sky, before the smouldering remains of many burnt-out buildings are seen in the desperate port city currently surrounded by Russian forces.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has said suffering in Mariupol is "simply immense" as Russia cuts off supplies leaving hundreds of thousands of people facing extreme shortages of food, water and medicine.

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"Dead bodies, of civilians and combatants, remain trapped under the rubble or lying in the open where they fell," the Red Cross said in a statement.

"Life-changing injuries and chronic, debilitating conditions cannot be treated."

The fight for Mariupol is crucial because its capture could help Russia establish a land corridor to Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

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Ukrainian and European leaders have pushed with limited success for Russia to grant safe passage to civilians trapped by fighting.

Ukrainian authorities said on Sunday that more than 10 humanitarian corridors would soon open, including from Mariupol. However, such promises have previously repeatedly crumbled.

A fourth round of talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials took place via video conference on Monday to discuss getting aid to cities and towns under fire, among other issues.

No breakthrough was made and they will resume on Tuesday, involving the same higher-level officials who met previously in Belarus.

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Talks have not yet led to major breakthroughs or a solution for getting aid or evacuation convoys to Mariupol.

The general staff of Ukraine's armed forces said on Monday morning that Russian troops have not made major advances over the past 24 hours, despite expanding strikes to the west.

The UN has recorded at least 596 civilian deaths, though it believes the true toll is much higher, and Ukraine's prosecutor general's office said at least 85 children are among them.

Millions more people have fled their homes amid the largest land conflict in Europe since the Second World War.