Zelensky: 'Only Ruins' Remain in Mariupol

Negotiations with Russia are 'very difficult'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2022 10:18 PM CDT
Zelensky: 'Only Ruins' Remain in Mariupol
People carry wooden boards to cover the windows of a building damaged by a bombing the previous day in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 21, 2022.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky said Tuesday that after weeks of relentless Russian bombardment, "only ruins" remain of Mariupol—but some 100,000 people remain in the besieged city. They are in "inhumane conditions. In a complete blockade. No food, no water, no medicine. Under constant shelling, under constant bombing," Zelensky said, per the BBC. He said Russia is continuing to interrupt humanitarian corridors "by shelling or deliberate terror," but around 7,000 people were rescued Tuesday despite the difficulties.

Zelensky said Russian forces not only blocked a convoy taking humanitarian aid to Mariupol, they seized all the buses along with 15 drivers. "There’s no connection with the world. We couldn’t ask for help," said Julia Krytska, who made it out of Mariupol with her husband and son Tuesday, per the AP. "People don’t even have water there." The country's defense ministry said Ukrainian forces managed to retake the Kyiv suburb of Makariv after a fierce battle early Tuesday, preventing Russian forces from surrounding the capital's northwest.

Zelensky said Tuesday that negotiations with Russia are going forward "step by step", with delegations meeting via video. "It's very difficult. Sometimes it’s scandalous," he said. The New York Times reports that according to a senior Pentagon official, Russian forces are "struggling on many fronts" and the Russian "combat power" in the region has dipped below 90% of the original force. The official said that with progress on the ground largely stalled, Russian forces are continuing to rely on long-range attacks on cities, and there are clear signs that civilian infrastructure like hospitals is being " deliberately and intentionally targeted." (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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