Mariupol mayor says 10,000 civilians have died while under siege
The mayor of Mariupol, Ukraine, on Monday said 10,000 civilians have been killed in the Russian siege there and that the death toll could more than double as the war continues.
Russian forces have blocked humanitarian convoys into Mariupol for weeks in an attempt to hide the city's destruction from the world, Mayor Vadym Boychenko told The Associated Press.
He said that bodies of Mariupol civilians lie "carpeted through the streets."
The town, which had more than 430,000 residents before the war, has been bombarded by Russian forces since late February, shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his attack on Ukraine.
Boychenko claimed Russian forces have moved the corpses to a shopping center with storage facilities and refrigerators.
He said Russian troops have brought mobile cremation equipment to dispose of the numerous civilian bodies.
"Mobile crematoriums have arrived in the form of trucks: You open it, and there is a pipe inside and these bodies are burned," the mayor told AP.
He pleaded on behalf of the town's remaining residents, where he said 120,000 civilians are in dire need of supplies.
Only residents who have gone through Russia's "filtration camps" are able to leave, Boychenko said.
Ukrainian authorities claim Russian forces have seized the passports of at least 33,000 Ukrainian citizens and sent them to "filtration camps" before moving them to areas of Russia that are economically depressed.
Those who do not pass the "filtering" are sent to prisons, the mayor said.
Earlier this month, reports of Russian atrocities surfaced from the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where hundreds of civilians were found dead.