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New drone footage shows massive extent of devastation in Ukraine’s Mariupol

Video reveals large area with bombed out, smoking buildings in southern port city where 100,000 are said to be trapped in Russian siege

Drone-shot video circulated on social media Wednesday showed the scale of devastation in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

The footage showed a large area with countless bombed-out buildings, some still smoking.

Little is known about the current fate of the city, which has been cut off from electricity, water and communications for days. Several thousand are feared dead, but the true death toll is far from verified.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that almost 100,000 people are still trapped in the ruins of Mariupol, after more than 7,000 escaped yesterday.

Human Rights Watch describes the southern city as a “freezing hellscape riddled with dead bodies and destroyed buildings.”

The UK’s Foreign Office published its own video of photos from the city along with the comment “The Kremlin is committing atrocities in Mariupol and lying to cover them up. But the evidence is clear.”

 

“Putin’s war is built on lies,” the office wrote.

Ukraine on Wednesday appealed for Western military help, ahead of an emergency NATO summit, and denounced Russian “war crimes” in besieged places including the port of Mariupol, where it says mass starvation is possible.

Tens of thousands of residents have already fled the southern city, bringing harrowing testimony of a “freezing hellscape riddled with dead bodies and destroyed buildings,” according to Human Rights Watch.

Zelensky said that almost 100,000 people remained trapped by relentless Russian bombardment in Mariupol without water, food and power. Before the war started, the city has a population of 430,000.

Mariupol has seen the worst devastation of the war, suffering weeks of siege and bombardment. But Ukrainian forces have prevented its fall, so far thwarting an apparent bid by Moscow to fully secure a land bridge from Russia to Crimea, seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Efforts to get desperately needed food and other supplies to those trapped have often failed.

Zelensky has accused Russian forces of seizing a humanitarian convoy. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the Russians were holding captive 11 bus drivers and four rescue workers along with their vehicles.

It is not clear how much of Mariupol is still under Ukrainian control. Fleeing residents say fighting continues street by street. In their last update, over a week ago, Mariupol officials said at least 2,300 people had died, but the true toll is probably much higher. Airstrikes in the past week destroyed a theater and an art school where civilians were sheltering.

Western officials say Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces are facing serious shortages of food, fuel and cold weather gear, with soldiers suffering frostbite, while Ukraine’s defenders have been increasingly going on the offensive.

Still, Russia’s far stronger, bigger military has many Western military experts warning against overconfidence in Ukraine’s long-term odds. The Kremlin’s practice in past wars has been to grind down resistance with strikes that flattened cities, killing countless civilians and sending millions fleeing.

Talks to end the fighting have continued by video. Zelensky said negotiations with Russia are going “step by step, but they are going forward.”

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