The Mariupol City Council is warning Thursday that “powerful and deadly epidemics could soon break out in the city” as conditions are becoming increasingly unsanitary with each passing day of conflicts.
In a Telegram post, the officials said about 100,000 residents in Mariupol “are in mortal danger not only due to shelling, but also intolerable living conditions and unsanitary conditions” – naming in particular the illnesses of cholera, dysentery and E. coli infections.
“The occupiers are unable to provide the existing population with food, water and medicine. Or just not interested in it,” Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said Thursday. “They block all evacuation attempts. And without that, people will die.”
A truck drives past the theater damaged during fighting in Mariupol, in eastern Ukraine, on Wednesday, April 27.
The Donetsk regional governor also claimed Thursday that Russia isn’t allowing wounded Ukrainian fighters to leave the Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol because it wants to capture them, Reuters reports.
“They [want to] use the opportunity to capture the defenders of Mariupol, one of the main [elements] of whom are the… Azov regiment,” Pavlo Kyrylenko reportedly said.
A destroyed tank and a damaged apartment building are seen in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Tuesday, April 26.
“Therefore the Russian side is not agreeing to any evacuation measures regarding wounded [Ukrainian] troops,” he added.
Local women gather at an entrance of a damaged apartment building in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Tuesday, April 26.
The developments come as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – who has been pushing for safe evacuations this week in Mariupol – is meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is in its 64th day.