Mariupol and St Petersburg to become sister cities, says Russian governor

Ukrainian port city came under full Russian control last week

Rory Sullivan
Tuesday 24 May 2022 15:38
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<p>Heavily damaged buildings are shown in Mariupol, Ukraine, on 22 May, 2022</p>

Heavily damaged buildings are shown in Mariupol, Ukraine, on 22 May, 2022

St Petersburg and the captured Ukrainian port of Mariupol will become sister cities, a Russian governor has said.

Alexander Beglov, who runs the St Petersburg government, announced that his administration was “ready” to help rebuild the city which Russian troops have spent three months flattening with projectiles. The two places are “linked by a common history and future”, he claimed.

The devastated city fell into complete Russian control last week after the surrender of the last remaining Ukrainian soldiers there, who had been holed up in the Azovstal steel plant.

“Mariupol is going through a difficult stage today and we’re ready to assist in its revival,” Mr Beglov said, without directly mentioning the human tragedy that has unfolded in the city. Thousands of people are believed to have been killed in Mariupol during the Russian siege, with recent satellite imagery appearing to show the digging of mass graves in nearby towns.

The St Petersburg governor added that he wanted his city to establish ties with Mariupol in areas including construction, housing and education.

Mr Beglov also vowed to sign an agreement with the Moscow-installed leader of Mariupol, Konstantin Ivashchenko, “as soon as possible”.

His declaration, which was posted on the St Petersburg government website, followed a phone call between him, Mr Ivashchenko and Denis Pushilin, the leader of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic.

Mr Pushilin admitted last week that around 60 per cent of properties in Mariupol are “beyond repair”. Ukraine has estimated that the damage is even higher.

St Petersburg governor Alexander Beglov (R) meets Russian president Vladimir Putin (L) in Moscow on 1 March, 2022

Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to Vadym Boichenko, Mariupol’s Ukrainian mayor, who is working from outside the Russian-controlled city, said bodies were still being discovered in the port city. He said around 200 rotting corpses were found beneath the rubble of one-hise rise building.

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