LVIV, Ukraine — The mayor of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol tells The Associated Press that more than 10,000 civilians have died in the southeastern city since the Russian invasion in February.
Mayor Vadym Boychenko told The Associated Press by telephone Monday that corpses were “carpeted through the streets of our city” and that the death toll could be more than 20,000.
Boychenko also said Russian forces have brought mobile crematoria to the city to dispose of the bodies and accused Russian forces of refusing to allow humanitarian convoys into the city in an attempt to disguise the carnage.
The mayor had previously claimed 5,000 dead. He explained that these data were on March 21, but “thousands more people were lying on the streets, it was just impossible for us to collect them.”
About 120,000 civilians remain in Mariupol in dire need of food, water, warmth and communications, the mayor said.
Boychenko said that about 150,000 people have been able to leave the city in private vehicles for other parts of Ukraine and that at least 33,000 were taken to Russia or to separatist territory in Ukraine.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— Ukrainian defenders dig in as Russia boosts firepower
— Biden, Modi to speak as US presses for hard line on Russia
— Ukrainian nuns open their monastery doors to the displaced
— US doubts new Russian war chief can end Moscow’s floundering
— Analysis: War, economy could weaken Putin’s place as leader
— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s latest assessment is that Russia is gearing up for, but has not yet begun, an intensified offensive in the Donbas.
A senior U.S. defense official said the Russians are moving more troops and materiel toward that area and are focusing many of their missile strikes there. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal U.S. military assessments.
The official said a lengthy convoy of vehicles that is headed south toward the eastern city of Izyum contains artillery as well as aviation and infantry support, plus battlefield command-and-control elements and other materials.
The official said the convoy appeared to originate from the Belgorod and Valuyki areas in Russia, which are shaping up as key staging and marshalling grounds for the Russian buildup in the Donbas.
The official said the Russians also are bolstering their presence in the Donbas by deploying in recent days more artillery southwest of the city of Donetsk.
— By Robert Burns
VIENNA — Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer says his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow was “very direct, open and tough.”
In a statement released by his office after the meeting, Nehammer said Monday his primary message to Putin was “that this war needs to end, because in war both sides can only lose.”
Nehammer was the first European leader to meet Putin in Moscow since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February.
The Austrian leader stressed that the Monday trip was “not a friendly visit,” but rather his “duty” to exhaust every possibility for ending the violence in Ukraine.
Nehammer’s Moscow visit comes after a trip on Saturday to Kyiv, where he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
In his conversation with Putin, Nehammer said he raised the issue of “serious war crimes” committed by the Russian military in the Ukrainian city of Bucha and others. “All those who are responsible will be held to account,” he added.
Austria is a member of the European Union and has backed the 27-nation bloc’s sanctions against Russia, though it so far has opposed cutting off deliveries of Russian gas. The country is militarily neutral and is not a member of NATO.