Russian forces take 400 patients and doctors hostage at Mariupol hospital

15 March 2022, 17:36 | Updated: 15 March 2022, 18:03

Russian forces are holding 400 people hostage at Mariupol Hospital
Russian forces are holding 400 people hostage at Mariupol Hospital. Picture: Getty/Social media

By Megan Hinton

Russian troops are holding up to 400 people hostage after occupying an intensive care hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

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Donetsk Oblast Governor said on Tuesday afternoon that Russian forces "drove 400 people from neighbouring houses to the hospital and they can’t leave".

Pavlo Kirilenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration, said: "It is impossible to get out of the hospital. There is a heavy shooting, we sit in the basement.

"Vehicles have not been able to drive to the hospital for two days. High-rise buildings are burning around… Russians forced 400 people from neighbouring houses to come to our hospital. We can't leave."

Russian forces are apparently firing at the windows of the hospital in an effort to trigger a response from Ukrainian soldiers, according to the Media Initiative for Human Rights.

A human rights organisation as said the Russian military are "threatening to shoot" at hostages who attempt to escape adding that "patients who risked escape from captivity returned with bullet wounds".

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Pavlo Kyrylenko said Russian invaders "practically destroyed" the hospital in previous days but hospital staff and patients continued to carry out emergency work in the basement.

He continued: "The destruction was not enough for Russian villains – now they made people hostages.

"I appeal to international human rights organizations to respond to these vicious violations of the norms and customs of war, to these blatant crimes against humanity.

"Russia and its every citizen involved in crimes in Ukraine must be punished!"

Some 2,000 civilian vehicles left the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on a so-called humanitarian corridor on Monday, the city council says.

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The city council said another 2,000 cars were waiting to leave along the evacuation route, which runs west for more than 160 miles to the Ukraine-held city of Zaporizhzhia.

City officials advised drivers to spend the night along the route unless they were close to Zaporizhzhia by evening.

Mariupol had a population of 430,000 before the war. The strategically located city has been under fire for more than two weeks.

Officials estimate the siege has killed more than 2,300 people and said it had left residents desperate for food, water, heat and medicine.