Russia takes hospital and 500 people hostage in key city, Ukraine officials say

·3-min read

Hospital patients and staff were taken hostage by Russian troops in the devastated city of Mariupol, Ukrainian officials claim.

Mariupol has been the subject of numerous bombings and attacks in the past two weeks, with local authorities confirming at least 2500 deaths.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the region’s governor, revealed on Tuesday Russian troops had entered an intensive care hospital on the outskirts of the city.

Bodies of people killed by shelling lay covered outside hospital number 3 in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 15, 2022.
Bodies of people killed by shelling lay covered outside a Mariupol hospital. Source: AP/Evgeniy Maloletka

“Russian occupiers took doctors and patients hostage,” he said in a translated post on Twitter.

“It is impossible to leave the hospital. They shoot hard, we sit in the basement,” he said quoting a medical employee.

“Cars have not been able to drive to the hospital for two days. High-rise buildings around are burning.”

Mr Kyrylenko said 500 people are being held hostage including 400 people from neighbouring homes who were driven to the hospital by Russians, the Kyiv Independent reports.

It's believed there were already 100 doctors and patients inside the “practically destroyed” hospital.

Russian troops are using those being held against their will as human shields, Mr Kyrylenko said.

An aerial view shows smoke rising from damaged residential buildings following an explosion, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Mariupol, Ukraine March 14, 2022 in this still image taken from a drone footage obtained from social media. Azov regiment press service/via REUTERS  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
An aerial view shows smoke rising from damaged residential buildings following an explosion, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Mariupol, on March 15. Source: Reuters
A woman walks past a burning apartment building after shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Sunday, March 13, 2022. Source: AP/Evgeniy Maloletka
A woman walks past a burning apartment building after shelling in Mariupol. Source: AP/Evgeniy Maloletka

Mariupol’s deputy mayor Sergei Orlov told CNN the detainment is a “war crime”.

"The biggest hospital in the 17th district of our cities is captured by Russian troops and the Russian army used doctors and patients as hostages in this building. We do not have any access to them," he said.

Mr Orlov said Russians are “destroying the city”.

“For example, yesterday, we counted 22 aircraft which were bombing our city, and at least 100 bombs they used to bomb our city. The damage is awful,” he said.

Roughly 400,000 people remain in besieged Mariupol, which has no power or water and is running out of food.

Fears 20,000 Mariupol civilians killed

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, numerous cities and civilians have been subjected to intense shelling.

While local authorities fear the number of civilians killed in Mariupol is approaching 20,000, the confirmed civilian toll in Ukraine is 691 people killed and 1143 injured, the United Nations human rights office said.

The UN admitted the true figures were probably “considerably higher”. More than three million Ukrainians have fled the country, it added.

Russia denies targeting civilians, describing its actions as a “special military operation”.

Peace talks between Russian and Ukraine resume

Despite its efforts, armoured columns of Russian forces have failed to capture any of Ukraine's 10 biggest cities, despite bombardment that has reduced some residential areas to rubble.

Peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations via a video link restarted on Tuesday after a pause on Monday, the first time a round of talks ran to a second day.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was too early to predict progress: “The work is difficult, and in the current situation the very fact that (the talks) are continuing is probably positive.”

with Reuters

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