In Russia-occupied Mariupol people stand in lines for water and cook on fires

3 June, 03:34 PM
Residents of Mariupol are waiting in line for water that is unfit for consumption without pre-boiling (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Residents of Mariupol are waiting in line for water that is unfit for consumption without pre-boiling (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

In Mariupol, the heavily damaged south-eastern Ukrainian city that was recently captured by invading Russian forces, civilians are now having to stand in long lines from early in the morning to get water.

This water is of low-quality and can’t be used for cooking purposes without filtration, or at least being boiled first.

Current conditions in the city have been described by Petro Andryushchenko, an advisor to mayor of Mariupol, writing on the Telegram social network.

“Mariupol meets the morning with queues for drinking water,” wrote Andryushchenko. “You can’t really use that water for cooking without boiling it. And boiling is pretty much impossible as food is being cooked on fires.”

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According to him, “even small and temporary tactical victories of the enemy bring enormous damage.”

Mariupol underwent a three month-long siege by Russia’s invasion forces. This led to a major humanitarian catastrophe in the city, which used to be the most developed one in the Donbas area.

Russia’s invasion forces bombed residential districts and critical infrastructure, while also blocking any efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to residents. At least 25,000 city residents have died since the beginning of the war. Many weren’t properly buried.

Vadym Boichenko, the mayor of Mariupol, said earlier that shortages of clean water may lead to a massive spread of infectious diseases, especially during the summer. By the year’s end, another 10,000 local residents might die due to the dreadful humanitarian situation, he said.

Neither hospitals, nor social facilities are able to work properly in Mariupol. The city’s economy, which used to be based on a large industrial sector with two major steel plants, is has come to a halt.

Meanwhile, global leaders who see the humanitarian situation in Mariupol and Kherson have different views about whether resolving the war through diplomacy is possible.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, has said he expects Ukraine and Russia to engage into a new round of negotiations, as the war is pretty much in a stalemate and is severely exhausting both armies.

But Antony Blinken, U.S. secretary of state, said during an appearance at a Foreign Affairs publication online event that at current stage Russian diplomacy doesn’t look willing to engage in any honest negotiations.

U.S. diplomacy remains committed to negotiations where it’s possible, he said. All the same, Ukraine should make its own decisions, Blinken said.

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