200 bodies found in basement in Mariupol, Ukrainian authorities say

24 May 2022, 16:14

Russia Ukraine War
Russia Ukraine War. Picture: PA

Meanwhile, heavy fighting is continuing in the Donbas.

Workers digging through the rubble of an apartment building in Mariupol have found 200 bodies in the basement, Ukrainian authorities said, as more horrors come to light in the ruined city that has seen some of the worst suffering of the three-month-old war.

The bodies were decomposing and the stench hung over the area, according to Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the mayor.

He did not say when the bodies were discovered, but the sheer number of victims makes it one of the deadliest known attacks of the war.

Heavy fighting continued in the Donbas, the eastern industrial region of Ukraine that Moscow’s forces are intent on seizing.

Soldiers in Mariupol
Ukrainian servicemen line up to be checked as they leave the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol (Russian Defence Ministry Press Service via AP)

Russian troops have intensified their efforts to encircle and capture Sievierodonetsk and neighbouring cities.

Mariupol was relentlessly pounded during a nearly three-month siege that ended last week after some 2,500 Ukrainian fighters abandoned the Azovstal steel plant where they had made their stand.

Russian forces already held the rest of the city, where an estimated 100,000 people remain out a pre-war population of 450,000, many of them trapped during the siege with little food, water, heating or electricity.

At least 21,000 people were killed in the siege, according to Ukrainian authorities, who have accused Russia of trying to cover up the horrors by bringing in mobile cremation equipment and burying the dead in mass graves.

Irpin
A resident sits outside buildings damaged by shelling in Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv (AP)

During the assault on Mariupol, Russian air strikes hit a maternity hospital and a theatre where civilians were taking shelter.

An Associated Press investigation found that close to 600 people died in the theatre attack, double the figure estimated by Ukrainian authorities.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused the Russians of waging “total war” and seeking to inflict as much death and destruction as possible on his country.

“Indeed, there has not been such a war on the European continent for 77 years,” Mr Zelensky said, referring to end of the Second World War.

Bullet hole in window
A bullet hole in the window of a flower shop in Kharkiv (AP)

Moscow-backed separatists have fought Ukrainian forces in the Donbas for eight years and hold large swaths of territory.

Sievierodonetsk and neighbouring cities are the only part of the Donbas’ Luhansk region still under Ukrainian government control.

Russian forces have achieved “some localised successes” despite strong Ukrainian resistance along dug-in positions, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said.

Moscow’s troops also took over the town of Svitlodarsk and raised the Russian flag there, Ukrainian media reported.

Svitlodarsk is about 31 miles south-east of the strategically important city of Kramatorsk.

Two top Russian officials appeared to acknowledge that Moscow’s advance has been slower than expected, though they vowed the offensive would achieve its goals.

Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said the Russian government “is not chasing deadlines”.

And defence minister Sergei Shoigu told a meeting of a Russia-led security alliance of former Soviet states that Moscow is deliberately slowing down its offensive to allow residents of encircled cities to evacuate – though forces have repeatedly hit civilian targets.

Food donations are prepared
A group of volunteers prepare food donations in Kharkiv (AP)

As Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, recovers from weeks of weeks of relentless bombardment, residents formed long queues to receive rations of flour, pasta, sugar and others staples this week.

Moscow’s forces withdrew from around Kharkiv earlier this month, pulling back toward the Russian border.

Galina Kolembed, the aid distribution centre coordinator, said that more and more people are returning to the city. Ms Kolembed said the centre is providing food to over 1,000 people every day, a number that keeps growing.

“Many of them have small kids, and they spend their money on the kids, so they need some support with food,” she said.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

President Joe Biden listens as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks

Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in as US Supreme Court justice

An investigator works outside the Bataclan concert hall (Christophe Ena/PA)

Life without parole for surviving extremist who carried out Paris attacks

A shark is seen swimming across a sand bar (Phil Marcelo/AP)

Great white sharks head to Cape Cod as busy tourist season gets under way

Police outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris (Catherine Wylie/PA)

Men convicted of involvement in 2015 terror attacks in Paris

Salah Abdeslam is believed to be the only surviving member of the group that killed 130 people in the 2015 Paris attacks

Islamic State member found guilty of mass murder for 2015 Paris terror attacks

Vatican Pope Pelosi

Pro-choice Nancy Pelosi receives communion at Vatican despite home city ban

Workers clear debris at the Kremenchuk shopping centre damaged in the Russian rocket attack

Search ongoing for 20 missing after Russian strike on Ukraine shopping centre

People attend a community vigil for the dozens of people found dead in a trailer in San Antonio

‘Difficult process’ identifying Texas lorry trailer death victims – authorities

World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

US abortion ruling ‘a setback’ that will cost lives, says WHO chief

Dutch farmers protesting against government plans gather for a demonstration at Stroe

Dutch PM condemns farmers’ protests at minister’s home

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, is sworn in by committee chairman Bennie Thompson

Trump dismissed January 6 threats and wanted to join crowd, says former aide

India Killing

Hindu tailor killed in cleaver attack amid religious tensions in India

The superyacht Amadea, which was seized by the US from a Russian oligarch

£25bn from Russian oligarchs frozen in multinational seizure effort

Travis Barker is been hospitalised in LA

Travis Barker's family plea for 'prayers' after drummer hospitalised with mystery illness

Airbnb has permanently banned parties at all its properties

Airbnb permanently bans parties at all properties around the world

Capitol Riot Investigation

Trump was told protesters had weapons on January 6, former aide says