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Mariupol: Russian military apparently holding hostages in hospital

The region around Mariupol has been the target of attacks for days. Russian troops are said to have taken 400 people hostage in a hospital. They should stay in the basement of the building.

Ukraine has accused Russia of taking hostages in a hospital in the southeastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Wereshchuk said in a video message on Wednesday that there were around 400 civilians in total. “And now the shots are being fired out of the hospital,” said Vereshchuk.

The aid organization Media Initiative for Human Rights had previously raised similar allegations. There was initially no comment from the Russian side. The information cannot be independently verified.

“It’s impossible for us to get out”

On Tuesday, a Ukrainian official accused Russian troops of taking hostages at a hospital in Mariupol. Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional administration, said in a statement published on his official Facebook page that one of the hospital workers managed to share information about what happened.

“It’s impossible to leave the hospital. Lots of shots, sitting in the basement. Cars can’t reach the hospital for two days. Many high-rise buildings are on fire… 400 people were herded into the hospital from neighboring houses. It’s impossible for us to get out,” he quoted the news.

Catastrophic humanitarian situation

Mariupol has been surrounded by Russian troops for a little over two weeks. Heavy street fighting has been raging for several days. The humanitarian situation in the city is considered catastrophic, hundreds of thousands of people endure under difficult conditions.

Only at the beginning of the week did tens of thousands of people manage to leave the city in private cars. A truck convoy with relief supplies has not yet been able to reach the besieged city. According to the authorities, more than 2,400 civilians have been killed in Mariupol since the war began almost three weeks ago.

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