- On Saturday, officials in Mariupol said that thousands of residents had been “forcibly” transferred to Russia.
- Officials said the soldiers took residents to camps in Russia and checked their documents and phones.
- Mariupol, a strategic port city, was heavily bombed, leaving thousands of people missing or killed.
City officials said in multiple statements on Saturday that Russian soldiers had removed thousands of residents from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol against their will and sent them back across the border into Russia.
Mariupol city council said residents were taken to camps on Russian soil, where their phones and documents were checked, According to CNN. The statement added that some residents have been redirected to remote Russian cities and “the fate of others is unknown.”
Tell Pyotr Andryushenko, assistant mayor of Mariupol New York times That 4000-4500 residents of Mariupol were “forcibly” transferred, without their passports, to the Russian city of Taganrog.
The newspaper stated that, “Nevertheless, [Andryuschenko] They had no evidence that they could be used for forced labor, he said with no place to live and no resources to rely on, they would be at the mercy of the people who took them across the border.”
The newspaper said that it was not able to independently verify the figures given by Andriyushenko, but other residents who managed to escape from the city confirmed certain details. The doctor who fled Mariupol on Wednesday, Eduard Zarubin, told The Times he knew of three families who had been taken by Russian soldiers and sent to Taganrog.
Zarubin told the newspaper that a friend who was transferred sent him a text message that he was not allowed to return to Ukraine.
In a statement on Saturday, Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko likened the developments to Nazi Germany and the forced deportation of Jews to concentration camps.
“What the occupiers are doing today is familiar to the older generation, who witnessed the horrific events of the Second World War, when the Nazis forcibly captured people,” Boychenko said, according to CNN. “It is hard to imagine that in the twenty-first century people could be forcibly transferred to another country.”
The strategic port city of Mariupol came under intense bombardment last week, leaving thousands of people missing or dead. Among the Russian targets Theater used as emergency shelterA mosque and maternity hospital.
Ukraine’s foreign minister described the Mariupol attacks as “the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet”. Civilians still in the area face worsening conditionsWith no water, heating, gas and limited food supplies.
Andryushenko said Washington Post The entire city essentially became a “battlefield”.
“But we are still defending the city and we are not giving up,” he said.
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