Speed Reads


Mariupol official says there are dead bodies in the streets: 'What could be worse than this?'

It's "Armageddon" in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Mayor Vadym Boichenko said Thursday, with residents there having experienced "two days of hell."

In a video posted online, Boichenko said Russian planes are flying over residential areas of the city every 30 minutes and "killing civilians: old people, women, children." Mariupol has been without water and electricity for several days, and there are food and medicine shortages. Russian forces surround the city, and because of heavy shelling, local officials say residents have been unable to evacuate.

"Nine days without food, warmth, and dead bodies everywhere on this street," Petro Andryuschenko, an adviser to the mayor's office, told The Washington Post on Thursday. "What can be worse than this? The only hospital that's left [is] filled to the brim with people." He estimates that 1,300 Mariupol residents have died in the city since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. 

On Wednesday, a Russian strike hit a Mariupol maternity and children's hospital, leaving three dead and 17 injured. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the attack an "atrocity," and video taken in the aftermath shows pregnant women being wheeled out of the damaged building. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed on Thursday that there were no women or children inside the hospital, and it was being used to house Ukrainian fighters. He did not provide any evidence for his claim.