Brief Ceasefire in Mariupol Broken by Heavy Russian Shelling

 

Mariupol, a South Ukrainian port city located along the coast of the Azov Sea has been enduring a brutal siege since the initial invasion of Russian forces. Sandwiched between annexed Crimea to the west and pro-Russian Donetsk and Luhansk to the east, it comes as little surprise that Russia would seek to control the port to bridge the gap between the two invading forces.

 

The chaos in the city has been palpable:

 

  •      Most phone services have been disconnected, causing significant difficulties with communication, notably amongst medics attempting to coordinate the movement of wounded civilians.
  •     The siege has endangered most routes in and out of the port, raising food and water concerns for the trapped populace.
  •     Mariupol’s hospital has lost power, creating an incredibly difficult situation for doctors and medics, who are forced to examine patients and victims with smartphone lights and cope with the near-freezing temperatures. “We work more than a week without a break, (some of us) even more,” said Evgeniy Dubrov, a doctor in the hospital. “(We) continue working, everyone on their positions.”
  •     Stories out of Mariupol demonstrate the wantonness of the shelling, as children, women, and the elderly are wounded or killed. Residential areas are no longer safe from attack, nor are soccer fields: a 16-year-old boy was reported dead in Mariupol’s hospital after the soccer field he was playing on was hit by Russian shells.

 

A ceasefire had been enacted in the region early March 5th, to allow civilians from Mariupol and its northern neighbor Volnovakha a safe corridor of escape, however, the ceasefire disintegrated later in the day, following reports of Russian shells hitting the safety corridor.

 

“Due to the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to influence nationalists or extend the ceasefire, offensive actions have been resumed at 18:00 Moscow time [15:00 GMT],” said Defence Ministry Spokesperson Igor Konashenkov in a briefing.

 

This unsuccessful civilian evacuation comes two days after both countries agreed to open “humanitarian corridors” to allow safe civilian passage out of combat zones, though these for the most part have been met with delays.

 

Talks between Ukraine and Russia will resume this upcoming Monday to end the war, said Ukrainian Negotiator David Arakhamiya on Facebook. He provided no additional details.

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