Heart-wrenching photos have emerged of Ukrainian children hiding in bomb shelters as Russian soldiers continue their indiscriminate bombing campaigns.
Mariupol is one of the cities worst hit since Russia’s invasion started, with troops destroying administrative centers and residential areas.
According to reports, every time Russia has agreed to open ‘humanitarian corridors’ letting people flee the city, its troops have broken the agreement and continued shelling.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said citizens stuck in the blockaded urban center are already suffering from a lack of supplies as the city runs low on water, food, and medicine.
One 6-year-old named Tanya has tragically died of thirst after getting trapped under the rubble.
Speaking on the city’s Telegram Channel, Mayor Vadym Boychenko said: “In the last minutes of her life she was alone, exhausted, frightened and terribly thirsty.
“This is just one of the many stories of Mariupol, which has been surviving a blockade for eight days.”
NATO’s chief said that Russian forces could be deliberately targeting people trying to flee besieged cities after President Vladimir Putin’s troops broke ceasefires to shell evacuation corridors.
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that there are ‘credible’ reports of ‘war crimes’ being committed by Russia.
“There are very creditable reports of civilians coming under fire as they try to evacuate,” Stoltenberg said.
“Targeting civilians is a war crime, and it’s totally unacceptable.”
Stoltenberg added: “We need real humanitarian corridors that are fully respected.”
Ukraine foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko also reported the shelling on Tuesday. “8 trucks + 30 buses ready to deliver humanitarian aid to Mariupol and to evac (evacuate) civilians to Zaporizhzhia. Pressure on Russia MUST step up to make it uphold its commitments,” he said.
Zelenskyy has called for the expansion of corridors for evacuees.
“Mariupol was surrounded, blocked, is being exhausted, tortured,” he said. “For the first time in dozens of years, perhaps for the first time since the Nazi invasion, a child died of dehydration. Hear me, today, dear partners! A child died of dehydration in 2022!”
The United Nations said that the invasion has forced around two million people to flee the country.
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