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Distraught father sobs over body of son killed by Russian bombardment of Mariupol

The teenager was playing football when the explosion hit

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Monday 07 March 2022 11:57 GMT
'I don't bite', Zelensky invites Putin to sit down with him for peace negotiations

A father weeps over the body of his teenage son killed in Russian bombardment, as the human cost of the Ukraine invasion continues to mount.

The grieving man, named only as Serhii, clutched on his 16-year-old son in a maternity ward converted into a hospital on Thursday, when relentless attacks fell on besieged Mariupol.

Iliya was playing football in field near a school on Wednesday when the blast hit, fatally wounding the teenager.

The harrowing image below shows just one of the thousands of civilians believed to have been killed by Vladimir Putin’s attack on the country.

Mariupol’s deputy mayor, Sergei Orlov, warned a humanitarian crisis was imminent as he told the BBC that Russia was attacking it indiscriminately, claiming the Kremlin was trying to break the city like it did in its bombing of Aleppo during the Syrian civil war.

“We don’t have any civil objects without some damage. Most of the schools, hospitals, kindergartens, living spaces, they are damaged somehow,” the deputy mayor said.

“Today Putin’s style of war is like Aleppo,” he added, warning that it would become as destroyed as the Syrian city within a few days.

Serhii weeps as he mourns the loss of his teenage son Iliya in Ukraine (AP)

The human cost of the Russia’s “military operation” continues to show as the death toll rises each day with at least 227 civilians killed and 525 wounded since the invasion began, according to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,

However, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said it believed that a total of more than 2,000 civilians have died in a week of war with Russia.

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

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed the death of a member of its special Ukraine monitoring mission, Maryna Fenina, who was killed in shelling in Kharviv on Tuesday while getting supplies for her family.

Tributes have flooded in for Ukrainian-American Serge Zevlever, who helped hundreds of children with special needs find adoptive parents in the US and other countries through his agency Help of Hand in Adoption.

Choosing to stay in Ukraine and defend his homeland, Mr Zevlever died in Kyiv two days after the Russian invasion began, according to friends.

Nathan Wolfe, a New Yorker who adopted two boys from Ukraine through Hand of Help in Adoption, told The Guardian: “Serge spent his life working to unite orphans with families. Two of our boys are alive and thriving today because of the work he did.”

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Vladmir Putin to sit down with him and negotiate in person, saying at a Kyiv press conference: “Get off our land. You don’t want to leave now?

“Then sit down with me at the negotiation table. I’m available. Sit. Just not 30 metres away like with Macron or Scholz etc.

“I am your neighbour. You don’t need to keep me 30 metres away.”

The Ukrainian President added: “I don’t bite. I’m a normal bloke. Sit down with me and talk.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the nation in Kyiv, on Thursday (AP)

“What are you afraid of? We aren’t threatening anyone, we’re not terrorists, we aren’t seizing banks and seizing foreign land.”

The appeal to Putin comes after the Russian President called Ukrainians “extreme gangsters” and insisted that Ukraine’s army were using civillians as “human shields”.

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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