The Ukrainian port city of Mariupol no longer exists due to the actions of invading Russian forces, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in an interview with the Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper on April 15.
"They have been trying to seize Mariupol for several (weeks) but they can't do it, no matter what fakes they spread," he said.
"At the same time, they understand that Mariupol no longer exists due to the actions of the Russian armed forces. There is the territory of Mariupol, but there is no city – they have destroyed everything... There's no city there, it's the territory of the city. And it's soaked in blood."
Kyrylenko said that the invaders are well aware that if they can occupy the territory, they will not be able to rebuild anything and no one will help them.
He believes that less than 100,000 people remain in Mariupol. The Russian invaders have not allowed civilians to leave the city for several days, carrying out filtration and deportation.
Tens of thousands of peaceful Mariupol residents have died since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The city cuncil estimates that the death toll ranges from 20,000 to 22,000.
Kyrylenko added that the figure may be higher.
"We saw the horrors of Bucha," he said. "As for Mariupol, they (Russians) understand that the number victims will be multiplied compared to Bucha, I’m sorry to say, by dozens of times..."
"Mass burials are also extremely dangerous for them, because there is a procedure for the exhumation of bodies, reburial. Therefore, according to our information, mobile crematoria are entering the city, and the bodies are also being removed to the crematorium of the town of Khartsyzsk, which is in Russian-occupied territory in Donetsk Oblast. They're burning the bodies there so that there are no traces of war crimes committed by Russia."
Earlier on April 15, Oleksandr Motuzianyk, a spokesman for Ukraine's Defense Ministry, said that active hostilities were underway in Mariupol near the Illich Steel and Iron Works and in the port area. The Russian invaders are constantly recruiting additional units for the assault, but cannot completely seize Mariupol.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Russia had destroyed 95% of the buildings in Mariupol. Ukrainian defenders are resisting overwhelming enemy forces in Mariupol amid a humanitarian catastrophe caused by constant Russian shelling.