Suffering goes on in encircled Mariupol as evacuation fails

APTOPIX_Russia_Ukraine_War_04593 Ukrainians crowd under a destroyed bridge as they try to flee crossing the Irpin river in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Demands for ways to safely evacuate civilians have surged along with intensifying shelling by Russian forces, who have made significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Efforts to put in place cease-fires along humanitarian corridors have repeatedly failed amid Russian shelling.
Russia_Ukraine_War_11725 An elderly lady is carried in a shopping cart after being evacuated from Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Demands for ways to safety evacuate civilians have surged along with intensifying shelling by Russian forces, who have made significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Efforts to put in place cease-fires along humanitarian corridors have repeatedly failed amid Russian shelling.
Russia_Ukraine_War_90147 Ukrainians cross an improvised path under a destroyed bridge while fleeing Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Demands for ways to safely evacuate civilians have surged along with intensifying shelling by Russian forces, who have made significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Efforts to put in place cease-fires along humanitarian corridors have repeatedly failed amid Russian shelling.
Russia_Ukraine_War_99157 The Kyiv station is seen nearly empty during curfew in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_39664 Ukrainian serviceman walks past the vertical tail fin of a Russian Su-34 bomber lying in a damaged building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
APTOPIX_Russia_Ukraine_War_32964 The dead body of a person lies covered in the street in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_32244 A Belarusian volunteer receives military training at the Belarusian Company base in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Hundreds of Belarus' emigrants and citizens have arrived in Ukraine to help the Ukrainian army fight against Russian invaders.
Russia_Ukraine_War_88828 People walk under a destroyed bridge while fleeing Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Demands for ways to safety evacuate civilians have surged along with intensifying shelling by Russian forces, who have made significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Efforts to put in place cease-fires along humanitarian corridors have repeatedly failed amid Russian shelling.
Russia_Ukraine_War_17297 A man lights a fire under the kettle in a yard of an apartment building hit by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.
APTOPIX_Russia_Ukraine_War_59075 An elderly woman is coated in snow as she sits in a wheelchair after being evacuated from Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Demands for ways to safety evacuate civilians have surged along with intensifying shelling by Russian forces, who have made significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Efforts to put in place cease-fires along humanitarian corridors have repeatedly failed amid Russian shelling.
Russia_Ukraine_War_94130 Belarusian volunteers receive military training at the Belarusian Company base in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Hundreds of Belarus' emigrants and citizens have arrived in Ukraine to help the Ukrainian army fight against Russian invaders.
APTOPIX_Russia_Ukraine_War_21576 People queue to receive hot food in the improvised bomb shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_63213 A man walks in an abandoned supermarket in Mariupol, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_63698 People walk next to an apartment building hit by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.
Poland_Russia_Ukraine_War_36313 A nun comforts a child at a temporary shelter, for displaced persons fleeing Ukraine, in Przemysl, Poland, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. U.N. officials said Tuesday that the Russian onslaught has forced more than 2 million people to flee Ukraine.
Russia_Ukraine_War_43694 Belarusian volunteers receive military training at the Belarusian Company base in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Hundreds of Belarus' emigrants and citizens have arrived in Ukraine to help the Ukrainian army fight against Russian invaders.
Russia_Ukraine_War_86102 People settle in a bomb shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_59690 People carry an elderly woman as people continue to leave Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Demands for ways to safety evacuate civilians have surged along with intensifying shelling by Russian forces, who have made significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Efforts to put in place cease-fires along humanitarian corridors have repeatedly failed amid Russian shelling.
Russia_Ukraine_War_17038 A man carries an elderly woman as people continue to leave Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Demands for ways to safety evacuate civilians have surged along with intensifying shelling by Russian forces, who have made significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Efforts to put in place cease-fires along humanitarian corridors have repeatedly failed amid Russian shelling.
Russia_Ukraine_War_69647 Ukrainian police officers carry a woman as people continue to leave Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Demands for ways to safety evacuate civilians have surged along with intensifying shelling by Russian forces, who have made significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Efforts to put in place cease-fires along humanitarian corridors have repeatedly failed amid Russian shelling.
Russia_Ukraine_War_13007 Ukrainian servicemen guard a checkpoint on a main road in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_99504 People use their phone as a boy plays in a subway car parked inside a station being used by residents as a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
Poland_Russia_Ukraine_War_63909 Women and children, fleeing from Ukraine, arrive on the platform of the train station in Przemysl, Poland, after disembarking from a bus which traveled from the border, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has set off the largest mass migration in Europe in decades, with more than 1.5 million people having crossed from Ukraine into neighboring countries.
Russia_Ukraine_War_93638 Abandoned vehicles of those who fled sit on the road before the destroyed bridge as people continue to leave the town of Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Demands for ways to safety evacuate civilians have surged along with intensifying shelling by Russian forces, who have made significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Efforts to put in place cease-fires along humanitarian corridors have repeatedly failed amid Russian shelling.
Hungary_Russia_Ukraine_War_80240 Two girls look out of the window as their train arrives, after originating in Ukraine, to the station in Zahony, Hungary, Monday, March 7, 2022. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has set off the largest mass migration in Europe in decades, with more than 1.5 million people having crossed from Ukraine into neighboring countries.
APTOPIX_Russia_Ukraine_War_39664 Ukrainian serviceman walks past the vertical tail fin of a Russian Su-34 bomber lying in a damaged building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_28038 In this March 8, 2022, image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office and posted on Instagram, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Russia_Ukraine_War_24804 A woman holds a baby in a bomb shelter in in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_11778 A man plays with a baby in a bomb shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022.
APTOPIX_Russia_Ukraine_War_19692 A man stands atop a destroyed bridge in Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
APTOPIX_Poland_Russia_Ukraine_War_68904 Masha Fesenko, from Kyiv, arrives at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Poland, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has set off the largest mass migration in Europe in decades, with more than 1.5 million people having crossed from Ukraine into neighboring countries.
Poland_Russia_Ukraine_War_00765 A woman rests inside a tent at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Poland, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has set off the largest mass migration in Europe in decades, with more than 1.5 million people having crossed from Ukraine into neighboring countries.
Hungary_Russia_Ukraine_War_11378 People stand in a tent as they register in a reception center for displaced persons fleeing Ukraine, in Beregsurany, Hungary, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. U.N. officials said Tuesday that the Russian onslaught has forced 2 million people to flee Ukraine. It has trapped others inside besieged cities that are running low on food, water and medicine amid the biggest ground war in Europe since World War II.
APTOPIX_Russia_Ukraine_War_72621 A Ukrainian soldier helps an elderly woman who was being evacuated on a shopping cart from Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
APTOPIX_Russia_Ukraine_War_24804 A woman holds a baby in a bomb shelter in in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
APTOPIX_Russia_Ukraine_War_72905 Ukrainians crowd under a destroyed bridge as they try to flee crossing the Irpin river in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
APTOPIX_Poland_Russia_Ukraine_War_63115 A Catholic priest hands out tulips, to women who have fled Ukraine, in recognition of International Women's Day at the train station in Przemysl, Poland, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. U.N. officials said Tuesday that the Russian onslaught has forced 2 million people to flee Ukraine. It has trapped others inside besieged cities that are running low on food, water and medicine amid the biggest ground war in Europe since World War II.
Russia_Ukraine_War_32734 In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the nation in Kyiv, Ukraine, late Monday, March 7, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_98986 Ukrainian soldiers walk on a destroyed bridge in Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
APTOPIX_Romania_Russia_Ukraine_War_22050 A refugee fleeing the conflict from neighbouring Ukraine sits on a bus, at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_33999 Ukrainian servicemen guard a checkpoint on a main road in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.
Hungary_Russia_Ukraine_War_International_Women's_Day_60932 Polina Shulga, 27, an administrator in a rehabilitation center in Kyiv, with her three-year-old daughter Aria after fleeing from Ukraine, run for a train to Budapest, on a train platform in the Hungarian border town of Zahony, Hungary, Monday, March 7, 2022. "I explained to her that we're going on vacation and that we'll definitely come home one day when the war is over," Shulga said.
Russia_Ukraine_War_87209 Ukrainians crowd under a destroyed bridge as they try to flee crossing the Irpin river in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_94979 Ukrainian police officers help a woman as people continue to leave Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Demands for ways to safety evacuate civilians have surged along with intensifying shelling by Russian forces, who have made significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Efforts to put in place cease-fires along humanitarian corridors have repeatedly failed amid Russian shelling.
Russia_Ukraine_War_73576 People sit in a bomb shelter in in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
APTOPIX_Poland_Russia_Ukraine_War_96868 A woman puts her head in her hands as she sits on a cot in a shelter, set up for displaced persons fleeing Ukraine, inside a school gymnasium in Przemysl, Poland, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. U.N. officials said Tuesday that the Russian onslaught has forced more than 2 million people to flee Ukraine.
Russia_Ukraine_War_28038 In this March 8, 2022, image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office and posted on Instagram, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy winks as he speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Russia_Ukraine_War_84895 Railways are seen through a small gap in the shades of a train arriving in Kyiv with all the blinds closed, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
APTOPIX_Russia_Ukraine_War_80633 People sit around a lamp in a bomb shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_56324 Ukrainian servicemen, right, distributes water to people in Mariupol, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022.
Russia_Ukraine_War_56013 People charge their phones in a yard in Mariupol, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022.
(1/51)

MARIUPOL, Ukraine (AP) — Corpses lie in the streets of Mariupol. Hungry people break into stores in search of food and melt snow for water. Thousands huddle in basements, trembling at the sound of Russian shells pounding this strategic port city.

“Why shouldn’t I cry?” Goma Janna demanded as she wept by the light of an oil lamp below ground, surrounded by women and children. “I want my home, I want my job. I’m so sad about people and about the city, the children.”

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in this encircled city of 430,000, and Tuesday brought no relief: An attempt to evacuate civilians and deliver badly needed food, water and medicine through a designated safe corridor failed, with Ukrainian officials saying Russian forces had fired on the convoy before it reached the city.

Nearly two weeks into the invasion, the Russians have advanced deep along Ukraine’s coastline in what could establish a land bridge to Crimea, which Moscow seized from Ukraine in 2014. Mariupol, which sits on the Azov Sea, has been surrounded by Russian soldiers for days.

Mariupol, said Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, is in a “catastrophic situation.”

In other developments in the Russian invasion:

— Poland offered to give all of its MiG-29 fighter jets to the U.S., apparently agreeing to an arrangement that would allow them to be used by Ukraine’s military. But Pentagon press secretary John Kirby later said the plan is not “tenable” and raises serious concerns for the NATO alliance. He said the U.S. would discuss it further with Poland.

— U.N. officials said that 2 million people have now fled Ukraine.

— Russia’s economic isolation deepened as U.S. President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports and Shell said it will no longer buy oil and natural gas from the country. Also, Adidas and McDonald’s said they are suspending their operations in Russia.

For days, as Moscow’s forces have laid siege to Ukrainian cities, attempts to create corridors to safely evacuate civilians have stumbled amid continuing fighting and objections to the proposed routes. Ukraine has rejected Moscow’s offers of corridors that lead civilians to Russia or its ally Belarus.

The Russian military has denied firing on convoys and charged that the Ukrainian side is blocking evacuation efforts.

One evacuation did appear successful Tuesday, with Vereshchuk saying that 5,000 civilians, including 1,700 foreign students, had been brought out via a safe corridor from Sumy, an embattled northeastern city of a quarter-million people where overnight strikes killed 21, including two children.

Natalia Mudrenko, the highest-ranking woman at Ukraine’s U.N. Mission, told the Security Council that the people of Mariupol have “been effectively taken hostage,” by the siege. Her voice shook with emotion as she described how a 6-year-old died shortly after her mother was killed by Russian shelling. “She was alone in the last moments of her life,” she said.

Authorities in Mariupol planned to start digging mass graves for all the dead, though the number is unclear. The shelling has shattered buildings, and the city has no water, heat, working sewage systems or phone service.

Theft has become widespread for food, clothes, even furniture, with locals referring to the practice as “getting a discount.” Some residents are reduced to scooping water from streams.

With the electricity out, many people are relying on their car radios for information, picking up news from stations broadcast from areas controlled by Russian forces or Russian-backed separatists.

Ludmila Amelkina, who was walking along an alley strewn with rubble and walls pocked by gunfire, said the destruction had been devastating.

“We don’t have electricity, we don’t have anything to eat, we don’t have medicine. We’ve got nothing,” she said, looking skyward.

Across the country, thousands are thought to have been killed, both civilians and soldiers, in nearly two weeks of fighting. Russian forces have seen their advances stopped in certain areas — including around Kyiv, the capital, where a vast armored column has been stalled for days — by fiercer resistance than expected from the Ukrainians.

Late Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released a video showing him standing near the presidential offices in Kyiv. Behind him were piles of sandbags, a snow-dusted fir tree and a few cars.

It was the second video in 24 hours showing him near the country’s seat of power, apparently made to dispel any doubts about whether he had fled the city.

“Snow fell. It’s that kind of springtime,” he said in a soft voice. “You see, it’s that kind of wartime, that kind of springtime. Harsh. But we will win.”

___

Associated Press reporters from around the world contributed to this report.

___

Follow the AP’s coverage of the Ukraine crisis at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up