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Mariupol remains encircled, suffering as Evacuation fails

Mariupol streets are littered with corpses. People in desperate need of food break into shops to find water and melt snow. 

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Mariupol remains encircled, suffering as Evacuation fails

Many people huddle in basements and tremble at the sound of Russian bombs hitting this port city.

Goma Janna cried, "Why shouldn’t I cry?" She cried as she wept under the oil lamp and was surrounded by children and women. "I want my house, and I want my job. "I'm so sad for people, the city, and the children."

This 430,000-strong city is in a humanitarian crisis. Tuesday was not a day of relief. An attempt to evacuate civilians, deliver food and water through a safe corridor, failed. Officials from Ukraine claimed that Russian forces had fired upon the convoy just before it reached the city.

Two weeks after the invasion began, Russian troops have advanced along Ukraine's coast in an attempt to establish a land bridge with Crimea. This is the same area that Moscow took from Ukraine in 2014. Russian soldiers have been surrounding Mariupol, a city that sits on the Azov sea, for many days.

According to Iryna Vereshchuk (Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine), Mariupol is in a "catastrophic" situation.

Other developments related to the Russian invasion

Poland offered to donate all its MiG-29 fighter aircraft to the U.S. in exchange for a deal that would allow them to use by Ukraine's military. John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, later stated that the plan was not "tenable" which raises serious concerns about the NATO alliance. He stated that the U.S. would continue to discuss the matter with Poland.

Officials from the U.N. stated that approximately 2 million people fled Ukraine.

Russia's economic isolation grew as the U.S. President Joe Biden declared a ban on Russian oil imports. Shell also stated that it would no longer purchase oil and natural gas from Russia. Adidas and McDonald's also announced that they will suspend their Russian operations.

As Moscow's forces occupy Ukrainian cities for days, attempts to build corridors to evacuate civilians have been thwarted by ongoing fighting and objections to the routes. Moscow has refused to offer corridors that would allow civilians to travel to Russia or Belarus.

The Russian military denied firing on convoys, and claimed that the Ukrainian side was blocking evacuation efforts.

Vereshchuk said Tuesday that one evacuation was successful. He stated that 5,000 civilians including 1,700 students from abroad were brought out via safe corridor from Sumy. Sumy is an embattled northeastern town of quarter-million people. Overnight strikes had killed 21 including two children.

Natalia Mudrenko was the U.N. Mission's highest ranking woman. She told the Security Council that Mariupol had been "effectively taken hostage" by the siege. She cried as she spoke of the death of her 6-year-old daughter, shortly after Russian shelling had killed her mother. She said, "She was alone in her last moments of life."

Authorities in Mariupol had planned to dig mass graves for all those who died, but the exact number is not known. The city is without water, heat or working sewage systems, and has been left with a number of damaged buildings.

It is now common to steal food, clothing, and furniture. Some people are even reduced to drinking water from streams.

Many people rely on their car radios to get information when the electricity is out. They can also access news stations that are broadcast from Russian-backed or Russian-controlled areas.

Ludmila Amelkina was walking down an alley filled with rubble and walls punctured by gunfire as she said that the destruction had been terrible.

"We don’t have electricity, food, or medicine. She looked up at the sky and said that she had nothing.

In the span of two weeks, thousands were killed in fighting across the country. Russian forces were unable to advance in some areas, including Kyiv, capital. A large armored column was halted for days there by a fiercer resistance from the Ukrainians.

Late Tuesday night, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, released a video of himself standing next to Kyiv's presidential offices. There were piles of sandbags behind him, as well as a snow-dusted pine tree and a few vehicles.

This was his second video in less than 24 hours, showing him at the country's powerhouse. It was apparently to dispel any doubts that he fled the city.

"Snow fell. He spoke softly, "It's that type of springtime." It's that type of wartime, that sort of springtime. Harsh. We will win.


 

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