This soul-crushing footage appears to confirm the shocking scale of the devastation in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol after 90 per cent of the city, which used to be called home by nearly 500,000 people, was reported destroyed by Russian bombs.
The difficult-to-watch images show what appears to be a largely destroyed and desolate city, with numerous buildings nothing more than shells of what they used to look like. Nonetheless, there are still said to be approximately 100,000 starving, injured, dehydrated and shellshocked people trapped in the besieged city.
The footage comes amid numerous reports, including from the Russian Ministry of Defence itself, of Russian forces launching missiles at Ukrainian targets.
The footage was obtained by Newsflash from Ukraine’s notorious Azov Battalion, whose troops have been engaged in a fierce and lengthy battle with Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
Azov said: “This is Mariupol today. Like a dead city shot by the enemy. But it will live. People are breathing there – hungry, in the basements of burning houses. Their hearts are still beating under the rubble in the hope of salvation. Mariupol is in pain. However, it is still a living organism waiting to be saved.”
The shocking images emerge as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that approximately 100,000 people are still trapped in the port city, with the United States and Europe reportedly planning to increase sanctions on Moscow. But NATO member states are still declining to establish a no-fly zone despite repeated requests from Kyiv.
The situation was already dire in Mariupol weeks ago, when an emergency coordinator from Doctors Without Borders reported horrific conditions in the city on 5th March, saying: “The city has been heavily shelled day and night for the last several days.”
He added at the time that “supermarkets have been hit”, “there’s no electricity, no heating…no water”.
Since then, there have been fierce battles between Ukrainian and Russian forces, with the bogged-down latter apparently resorting to increasingly desperate tactics such as bombing civilians.
The Ukrainian President is set to address a NATO summit scheduled to take place in the Belgian capital Brussels tomorrow (Thursday, 24th March). The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres, stated yesterday that it was time for a diplomatic solution to the “unwinnable” and “indefensible” war to be found.
The Azov Regiment, also known as the Azov Battalion, is a group of soldiers who were officially incorporated into the National Guard of Ukraine in 2014 after recapturing Mariupol from pro-Russian separatists in June that year.
The Azov Regiment began as a far-right, neo-Nazi group that started out as an urban militia and a political party that has since expanded and, through service to Ukraine, has been incorporated into the Armed Forces. Azov, on a national level, failed in past elections to win any seats in the Ukrainian parliament via its political branch.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have capitalised on the presence of this group in eastern Ukraine to announce his so-called “special military operation” to “de-Nazify Ukraine”, apparently painting the whole country with the same brush as this regiment, despite Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy being Jewish and the descendant of a man who lost his three siblings to the Nazis.
NATO countries have been reluctant to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine despite President Zelenskyy’s repeated requests for them to do so as civilian casualties continue to rise.
But the US and the EU, along with the UK and other allies, have been providing unprecedented military support as Ukraine’s military and civilians resist the Russian forces amid widespread reports that they have become bogged down.
The UN’s International Court of Justice has ruled Russia’s invasion of Ukraine illegal and has ordered Putin to remove his troops immediately. Former British Prime Ministers Sir John Major and Gordon Brown have called for the creation of a Nuremberg-style international tribunal to investigate Putin.
The proposal has been co-signed by 140 intellectuals and academics, as well as Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Benjamin Ferencz, who is 102 years old and who prosecuted Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg.