Ukraine: Mariupol locals 'being deported violently' says Berg
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Around 2,000 civilians are thought to have been killed in the port city of Mariupol, which has suffered some of the heaviest bombardments since the war began on February 24. A further 100,000 are thought to be trapped there. One man has revealed he and his family ate a stray dog to stave off hunger – in the face of mass food shortages.
Already weeks ago, aid agencies warned of the “humanitarian catastrophe” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the biggest offensive in Europe since World War Two, would cause.
As supplies of food run perilously low, Sasha Volkov, the deputy head of the International Committee of the Red Cross’s delegation in the city, described harrowing scenes.
She said: “Some people still have food, but I’m not sure for how long it will last. Many people report having no food for children. People started to attack each other for food. People started to ruin someone’s car to take the gasoline out.”
Local Alexandr Volodko, 21, told The Telegraph: “We spotted a stray dog, it was already not doing well. We were so desperate we cooked it. We were starving and I am ashamed to say it.”
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In an address earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said citizens were completely encircled by Russia’s military.
He said: “No food, no water, no medicine.
“Under constant shelling, under constant bombing.”
The Kremlin needs its soldiers to take the strategically important city of Mariupol in order to create a land corridor between annexed Crimea and the Russian-backed regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in southeastern Ukraine.
Those who remain in Mariupol, if not killed in an attack or by starvation, are in danger of being deported by Russian soldiers who are said to be taking Ukrainians to “filtration camps”.
Vladimir Putin’s forces are, according to the Ukrainian defence ministry, driving around parts of the southeastern city claiming the city of Odesa has fallen and other refugee hotspots were now rejecting fleeing residents.
The ministry of defence claimed those evacuated by the Russians were being funnelled through camps, such as one in Dokuchaievsk, in the self-proclaimed republic in Donetsk, to then be moved onward to Russia itself.
It said: “A number of northern regions are mentioned as the final destination, including Sakhalin.
“Ukrainians are being offered official employment through employment centres. Those who agree receive documents banning them from leaving Russian regions for two years.”
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However, they match claims by Ukrainian MP Inna Sovusan, who on Sunday, March 20, appeared on Times Radio saying: “They’re taking Ukrainian citizens, sending them through what are called filtration camps, and then relocating them to distant parts of Russia to work for free. This is the logic of Nazi Germany.”
Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional administration, on the same day claimed 1,000 people had been deported.
He said: “The occupiers are sending the residents of Mariupol to filtration camps, checking their phones and seizing (their) Ukrainian documents.”
The city council added: “People who are being forcibly taken to Russia are being stripped of their Ukrainian passports and given a piece of paper that carries no legal weight and is not recognised by the entire civilised world.”
On Friday, the Mariupol City Council published a letter pleading for help as it stressed its residents’ hunger.
The letter, published on Telegram, read: “More and more deaths from starvation. More and more people are left without any food supplies.
“And all attempts to launch a large-scale humanitarian operation to save the people of Mariupol are blocked by the Russian side.
“Because the occupiers are not interested in people and their destinies.”
Mr Volodko’s admission to having eaten a dog paints a harrowing picture of the situation in Mariupol.
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