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Mayor of Mariupol says Russian forces have intensified shelling

Russian forces have intensified shelling in the port city of Mariupol, including with the use of airplanes, the mayor says.

“The city is in a very, very difficult state of siege,” Vadym Boychenko tells Ukrainian TV. “Relentless shelling of residential blocks is ongoing, airplanes have been dropping bombs on residential areas.”

Boychenko says that thousands of children, women and the elderly came under fire as they arrived in the morning for a possible evacuation through a safe passage corridor. Russia promised to stop the shelling of Mariupol, a port city of 430,000, and Volnovakha, a city in the east, but violated the ceasefire.

Russia has made significant advances in the south, clearly seeking to cut off Ukraine’s access to the sea. Capturing Mariupol, which has been fending off the attack for six days, could allow Russia to build a land corridor to Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.

Glass on a hospital window is shattered by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, March 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

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