Kyiv / TEH: The mayor of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Vadim Boychenko, blamed the Russian forces for the deaths of more than 10,000 civilians in the city since the start of the Russian military operation.
He said in press statements by phone, that the bodies were covered with carpets in the streets of Mariupol, accusing the Russian forces of obstructing the arrival of humanitarian convoys to the city for weeks “in order to hide the massacre they committed in the city,” according to the Associated Press.
Boychenko added that the death toll in the coastal city of Mariupol alone “may exceed 20,000 people”, twice the number reported.
For its part, the British Ministry of Defense warned that Russia will intensify its military operations in Ukraine during the next two or three weeks.
“The fighting in eastern Ukraine will intensify over the next two to three weeks as Russia continues to refocus its efforts there,” the ministry said on Twitter.
Earlier today, the United States and Britain announced that they were investigating reports that Russian forces had used “chemical weapons” in Mariupol.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said her country was verifying information that Russian forces had used chemical weapons in an attack on the besieged Mariupol.
She noted on Twitter that there were reports “that Russian forces may have used chemicals in an attack on the residents of Mariupol.”
On Monday, the Ukrainian Special Operations Battalion “Azov” announced that Russian forces had dropped an unknown toxic substance on the Ukrainian army and civilians in Mariupol using a drone.
In a statement, the battalion confirmed that respiratory failure had been observed among the injured after the attack, which occurred in the evening hours, and that research was still underway into the effects of the toxic substance.
On February 24, Russia launched an attack on Ukraine, according to The Eastern Herald online magazine, followed by international rejection and severe economic sanctions against Moscow, which stipulate to end its operation that Kyiv abandon plans to join military entities and remain neutral, which the latter considers an “interference in its sovereignty.”