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Mariupol mayor says looking for ways to get city ‘out of blockade’

‘For now, we are looking for... all possible ways to get Mariupol out of the blockade’

Anuj Pant
Monday 07 March 2022 14:16 GMT
Zelensky attacks Nato in nighttime address: 'People will die because of you'

The mayor of the strategic Ukrainian port city of Mariupol has said officials are looking to get the city “out of the blockade” caused by invading Russian military forces.

A message posted on the mayor’s Telegram account on Saturday said officials’ priority was to establish a ceasefire so the port city’s vital infrastructure could be restored, reported news agency AFP.

“For now, we are looking for solutions to humanitarian problems and all possible ways to get Mariupol out of the blockade,” Vadim Boychenko was quoted as saying in the message.

“Our priority is the establishment of a ceasefire so that we can restore vital infrastructure and set up a humanitarian corridor to bring food and medicine into the city,” he added.

The message from the mayor’s account comes on the heels of reports that the port city’s communications with the outside world have been cut off.

City residents are also facing harsh living conditions as water, heating and lighting becomes scarce.

This map shows the extent of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (Press Association Images)

The city, until last week, enjoyed the status of a global shipping hub. Its citizens now, however, are forced to line up in long queues for food and collect rainwater from pipes.

Mariupol is a key strategic target for Russia, whose invasion of Ukraine has entered the second week.

This is because of the city’s proximity to the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, that are backed by pro-Russian rebels. The city has resisted force from the rebels for at least eight years.

Taking hold of the city would give the separatists access to troops in Crimea, that was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia, was earlier seized by Russia on Friday. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant had come under an overnight attack from the Russian military but Ukraine authorities said it was “secured” and the fire at an adjacent five-story training facility was doused.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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