It has been six weeks of Russia’s brutal siege that has left more than 10,000 civilians dead in Mariupol. Corpses are carpeting the streets. Mariupol has experienced the heaviest attacks and civilians suffering in the six-week-long war. However, the air, sea, and land assaults by Russia’s forces fighting to capture it have led to limited information on circumstances within the port city.
A Times of India report says that Vadym Boychenko, the mayor of Mariupol, accused Russia’s forces of blocking weeks of humanitarian convoys into the city to conceal the carnage from the rest of the world. Boychenko added that the death toll there may have passed 20,000. He gave more details of allegations made by Ukraine’s officials in recent times that Russia’s forces have brought with them mobile cremation equipment to dispose of the victims’ corpses in Mariupol.
Russians have also carried many bodies to a large shopping center that has refrigerators and storing facilities. Elsewhere, the US officials highlight new signs that Russia’s military is gearing up for a massive offensive in the Donbas region of Ukraine, changing focus after Russia’s forces failed in the initial attempt to take over Kyiv.
Donbas is significantly torn by fighting between Ukraine’s forces and Russia’s allied separatists since 2014. Separatists have declared their independent states. Military strategists have observed that Russia’s leaders seem to hope for terrain, local support, and logistics in Donbas, favoring Russia’s troops to achieve more territory and weaken the fighting forces of Ukraine.
Russia has also appointed a senior general to lead the renewed push in the Donbas region of Ukraine.
A senior defense official of the US mentioned on Monday that a long convoy of Russia is rolling toward Izyum with aviation, artillery, and infantry support as part of the redeployment program for what seems to be the looming campaign of Russia.
Increasing artillery is now being deployed near Donetsk, while the ground combat units that withdrew from Chernihiv and Kyiv appear destined to be refitted and resupplied before positioning in Donbas.
Russia’s forces have also resorted to bombarding cities, an exclusive strategy that has killed thousands of civilians and flattened urban areas.
The UN children’s agency has reported that almost two-thirds of Ukraine’s children have fled their homes since the invasion of Russia has begun. The UN has verified that 142 children were killed and 229 have been injured. The actual numbers are much higher.
Ukraine’s authorities have also accused Russia of committing atrocities, even a massacre in Bucha. There, the Russians have launched airstrikes on hospitals and missile attacks that had taken the lives of 57 individuals at a train station last week.
In Mariupol, almost 120,000 civilians need water, warmth, food, and communications. Only those residents who could have passed Russia’s filtration camps have been released from the port city.
Ukraine’s officials have also been seizing passports from the citizens of Ukraine and moving them to filtration camps in the separatist-controlled east of Ukraine, before sending them away to economically depressed and distant areas in Russia.
Those who have not passed the filtering are being moved to prisons. The number of those taken to Russia and separatist territory in Ukraine is more than 33,000.
Russia, however, denies moving individuals against their wishes.
Western leaders had warned Ukraine even before the troops of Russia moved into the country that Russia could resort to unconventional weapons, especially chemical agents.
A regiment of Ukraine, without any evidence, claimed on Monday, that a drone had dropped a poisonous substance in Mariupol. However, there were no major injuries.
John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, mentioned that the US was not able to establish the drone report but he noted that the administration’s persistent concerns remain that Russia continues to use several riot control agents, including tear gas blended with chemical agents.
Russia’s forces are likely to encircle Donbas from the south, north, and the east mentioned Richard Barrons, the co-chair of a UK-based consulting firm named the Universal Defence and Security Solutions. The ground in that region of Ukraine is relatively flatter and less wooded. It is more open and so, the ambush tactics used in Kyiv may be less successful for the Ukrainians.
Questions about the ability of demoralized and depleted forces of Russia to conquer much ground after determined defenders from Ukraine, repelled their advance on Kyiv remain. The Defense Ministry of Britain on Monday said that Ukraine has been able to beat back multiple assaults by forces of Russia in the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions that make up the Donbas, destroying Russian tanks, vehicles, and artillery.
Western military analysts suggest that Russia’s assault has started focusing increasingly on an arc of territory that stretches from Kharkiv in the north, the second-largest city of Ukraine to Kherson in the south.
A residential region of Kharkiv was struck by an incoming fire on Monday afternoon. AP journalists observed firefighters putting out the fire and checking for victims following the attack. They saw that at least five had been killed, including a child.
Oleh Synyehubov, Kharkiv’s regional governor, said on Monday that Russia’s shelling had taken the lives of 11 over the past 24 hours.