'This is the new Auschwitz'
More than 5,000 civilians have been killed in Mariupol, Ukraine, since the start of the Russian invasion, Mayor Vadym Boichenko said Wednesday. The death toll includes 210 children.
"The world has not seen the scale of the tragedy in Mariupol since the existence of the Nazi concentration camps," Boichenko said, per the Ukrainian news agency Interfax. "Russia-occupation forces turned our entire city into a death camp. This is the new Auschwitz and Majdanek."
Mariupol is a port city, and for the last several weeks it has been surrounded by Russian troops. If they are able to gain full control of Mariupol, Russia will have a continuous land corridor to the Crimean Peninsula, which it annexed in 2014. Before the invasion, 430,000 people lived in Mariupol, and British defense officials say 160,000 remain.
With Mariupol under siege, those still in the city are struggling without basic necessities like food, clean water, medicine, and gasoline. Boichenko said civilians are being killed by Russian shelling and in street fighting, and after one hospital was bombed, 50 people inside were burned to death. He estimates that more than 90 percent of Mariupol's infrastructure is now destroyed.