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devastation

Mariupol is 'in the hands' of Russia, mayor says

Russian forces now control the majority of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, CNN reported Monday.

"[W]e are in the hands of the occupiers today," said Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko in a televised interview on Monday. According to Reuters, Boichenko, who is no longer in the city, also said that Russia's siege of Mariupol has killed nearly 5,000 people and that 160,000 people remain trapped in the city without clean water or electricity. Mariupol had a pre-invasion population of over 400,000.

Ukrainian sources have accused Russian and Russian-backed separatist troops of forcibly taking thousands of Mariupol residents to Russia and of firing on proposed evacuation corridors.

Last week, Zelensky said over 4,000 people had been successfully evacuated from Mariupol. Pro-Russian separatists say they're evacuating 1,700 per day, per CNN.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Mariupol was "close to falling." According to the Times, Zelensky told the city's remaining defenders they may need to flee and said Ukraine's military cannot muster "a sufficient number of tanks, other armored vehicles, and ... aircraft" to "break the blockade in Mariupol."

Capturing Mariupol would be Russia's largest victory of the war. Having failed to quickly capture Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities as planned, Russian forces have "narrowed immediate targets to the sieges of the southern port city of Mariupol and the strategically placed city of Chernihiv in the north," the Times explains.

Mariupol lies on Ukraine's southern coast between the separatist-controlled Donbas region and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. If Mariupol falls, Russia will have successfully seized a "land bridge" connecting the two.