Ukraine says mosque sheltering 80 civilians shelled in Mariupol
A mosque in the southeastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, where 80 civilians were taking shelter, has been shelled by Russian forces, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said on Saturday.
“The mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxolana (Hurrem Sultan) in Mariupol was shelled by Russian invaders. More than 80 adults and children are hiding there from the shelling, including citizens of Turkey,” the ministry wrote on its Twitter account.
It did not specify when the shelling took place.
Mariupol has been under siege and bombardment for more than a week and is encircled by Russian troops.
The situation in the strategic port city was “desperate”, where civilians have been desperately trying to flee, but were without water or heating, and running out of food, a top Doctors Without Borders executive said Friday.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Friday: “Besieged Mariupol is now the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet. 1,582 dead civilians in 12 days.”
Three people, including a child, were killed when a children’s hospital in the city was attacked on Wednesday, sparking international outrage.
Against this backdrop, a new attempt is being made to open up a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to evacuate the city towards Zaporizhzhia, around 200 kilometres to the north east, said Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
For days, Ukrainians have claimed that the Russian military has been pounding the evacuation route, preventing people from leaving.
As on previous days, humanitarian corridors were also to be opened again around Kyiv.
“I very much hope that the day will go well, that the planned routes will be open and that Russia will meet its obligations regarding the observance of the ceasefire,” Vereshchuk said in a video uploaded to the website of the Ukrainian presidency.
As the Russian army continues to advance and besiege Kyiv, strikes hit the town of Vasylkiv on Saturday morning, about 40 kilometres south of the capital.
Eight Russian rockets hit the local airport around 7:00 am (0500 GMT), which was “completely destroyed”, said the mayor Natalia Balassinovitch, on her Facebook account.
An oil depot was also hit and caught fire, she said.