200 Bodies Found in Mariupol 05/24 06:14
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Workers digging through rubble found 200 bodies in
Mariupol, Ukrainian authorities said Tuesday, another grim discovery in the
ruined port city that has seen some of the worst suffering of the 3-month-old
The bodies found in the basement of a collapsed apartment building were in a
state of decomposition and a stench permeated the neighborhood, said Petro
Andryushchenko, an adviser to the city's mayor.
Mariupol, which the Russians recently claimed full control over, has endured
some of the worst suffering of the war and became a worldwide symbol of
defiance for the diehard defense put up for months by fighters at a steelworks.
The announcement of the discovery of the bodies came shortly after Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of waging "total war," seeking to
inflict as much death and destruction as possible on his country.
"Indeed, there has not been such a war on the European continent for 77
years," Zelensky told Ukrainians Monday night, on the eve of the three-month
anniversary of the start of the war.
He pointed to a missile attack that killed 87 people last week in the town
of Desna, 55 kilometers (35 miles) north of Kyiv, one of the deadliest single
strikes in the war.
"And it was only four missiles," he said, noting the many hundreds of such
strikes since the beginning of the war on Feb. 24.
The conflict began with expectations that Russia might overtake the country
in a blitz lasting only days or a few weeks. But stiff Ukrainian resistance,
bolstered by Western weapons, has bogged down Moscow's troops, forcing them to
pursue more a limited objective.
The Kremlin is now focused on the eastern industrial heartland of the
Donbas, where Russian forces have intensified efforts to encircle and capture
Sievierodonetsk and neighboring cities, British military authorities said
Tuesday. That's the only part of the Donbas' Luhansk region that remains under
Ukrainian government control.
Russian forces have achieved "some localized successes" despite strong
Ukrainian resistance along dug-in positions, the U.K. Defense Ministry said,
but the fall of Sievierodonetsk and the area around it may cause logistical
problems for the Russians.
"If the Donbas front line moves further west, this will extend Russian lines
of communication and likely see its forces face further logistic resupply
difficulties," the ministry said.
In its effort to secure a victory in the Donbas, Moscow has withdrawn some
forces from around Ukraine's second-largest city of Kharkiv.
There, residents lined up for rations of tea, sugar, pasta and cereal,
holding out plastic bags to receive cups of flour and other supplies.
Meanwhile, a Russian-installed official in Ukraine's Kherson region said the
pro-Kremlin administration will ask Moscow to set up a military base there.
"It is vitally important and will become a security guarantee for the region
and its residents," said Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the administration.
Ukrainian officials have speculated Russia plans to stage a referendum in
the region to declare its independence, similar to ones held years ago in the
Donetsk and Luhansk regions of the Donbas. Moscow recognized the
self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics two days before invading Ukraine,
using that as a pretext to send troops to its ex-Soviet neighbor.
Instead, Stremousov said the region would ask the Kremlin to make it part of
Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said it is up to the people of
Kherson to decide how and where they want to live.
Meeting in Tokyo with fellow leaders in the Indo-Pacific security coalition
known as the Quad, President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Russia's war in
Ukraine had brought a "dark hour in our shared history."
Global defense leaders on Monday agreed to send more advanced weapons to
Ukraine, including a Harpoon launcher and missiles to protect its coast,
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters.