Invading Russian forces are forcing Ukrainian citizens to work for food in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, mayoral advisor Petro Andriushchenko reported on Telegram messenger on April 26.
"The occupiers have resorted to the shameful practice of providing food for men only if they are involved in work," he said.
"Therefore, men are forced to participate in the dismantling of debris, the arrangement of mass graves, just so as not to die of starvation. No exaggeration."
Andriushchenko added that the city is in dire need of food. Healthcare is also lacking in the besieged city, he said.
"The occupiers have announced the opening of the first 'hospital' in the premises of the Apollonia Dental Center in the Livoberezhnyi (Left Bank) district,” the mayoral advisor stated.
“Which, apparently, speaks of the real readiness of the occupiers, their concern for civilians and the real state of other hospitals in the city.”
Mariupol has been blockaded by Russian forces for nearly two months. They are systematically shelling the city's civilian infrastructure. According to preliminary estimates, anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 people have already been killed by Russians attacks. The occupiers are sweeping away traces of atrocities and crimes, burning the bodies of residents in mobile crematoria.
There are still about 120,000 civilians left in the city, who are unable to leave due to the actions of the Russian army. Russian military forces continue to fire even after agreements on humanitarian corridors for evacuation and aid deliveries. Some Mariupol residents have also been forcibly deported to occupied Donbas, or Russia.
Members of the Azov Regiment, Ukrainian marines, and motorized riflemen continue to defend the city, though there positions have been moved back to the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works, a massive factory in Mariupol. Both civilians and soldiers are sheltering in the extensive tunnel works under the plant. Russian forces continue to heavily shell the plant.
On April 21, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin ordered Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to "cancel the assault" on the industrial zone near Azovstal in Mariupol, calling it "inexpedient."
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that the killing of defenders in Mariupol would put an end to negotiations with Russia.
On April 22, Vadym Skibitsky, a spokesman for Ukraine's Defense Ministry, said that Russia had not given up its assault on Azovstal and planned to involve the Russian Guard and the FSB security service for a further offensive.