Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday that 100,000 people were trapped in the city of Mariupol, which has faced relentless attacks from Russian forces, Axios reported.
During a televised address, Zelenskyy said people in the city were completely blockaded by Russia’s military and were enduring “inhumane conditions,” Axios reported.
“No food, no water, no medicine,” he reportedly said. “Under constant shelling, under constant bombing.”
Over 7,000 Mariupol residents have been rescued from Mariupol in the past 24 hours despite the shelling, Zelenskyy said, Axios reported. Hundreds have reportedly died from attacks on the city, with bombings of civilians targets in recent days including a school, mosque and a theater.
Mariupol is a strategically important city, as control over it would allow Russia to establish a land corridor between Crimea and the Russian-backed Lugansk and Donetsk regions, Axios reported.
Russia is “attempting to envelop Ukrainian forces in the east of the country as they advance from the direction of Kharkiv in the north and Mariupol in the south,” according to the U.K. Ministry of Defense.
Russian troops are “still attempting to circumvent Mykolaiv as they look to drive west towards Odessa,” and “the battlefield across northern Ukraine remains largely static,” the ministry said.
Russia first invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Lugansk and Donetsk independent. Moscow has since demanded, as a prerequisite to peace, that Ukraine recognize the two regions as such in addition to ceasing all military action, altering its constitution to enshrine its neutrality from Western pacts and NATO, and recognizing Crimea as part of Russia.
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