Ukraine war: 200 bodies found in basement of Mariupol building | Top points

Russian forces have taken control of three Donetsk region towns including Svitlodarsk, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told a local affiliate of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Ukrainian servicemen sit in a bus after they were evacuated from the besieged Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant. (AP file)
Ukrainian servicemen sit in a bus after they were evacuated from the besieged Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant. (AP file)
Updated on May 24, 2022 11:17 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

As many as 200 bodies were found in the basement of an apartment building in Mariupol after workers dug through the debris, authorities said Tuesday even as Russian forces were conducting an all-out assault to encircle Ukrainian troops in twin cities straddling a river in eastern Ukraine - a battle which could determine the success or failure of Moscow's main campaign in the east.

Mariupol was relentlessly pounded during a siege that ended last week after some 2,500 Ukrainian fighters abandoned a steel plant where they had made their stand. Russian forces already held the rest of the city, where an estimated 100,000 people remain out a prewar population of 450,000, many of them trapped during the siege with little food, water, heat or electricity.

It has been exactly three months since President Vladimir Putin ordered invasion of Ukraine. On Tuesday, authorities also reopened the underground metro in Ukraine's second-largest city Kharkiv where thousands of civilians had sheltered for months under relentless bombardment.

Latest updates on the Russia-Ukraine war:

> The bodies were decomposing and the stench hung over the neighbourhood, news agency AP quoted Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the mayor, as saying. He did not mention when they were discovered, but the sheer number of victims makes it one of the deadliest known attacks of the war.

> Russian forces have taken control of three Donetsk region towns including Svitlodarsk, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told a local affiliate of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

> As Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, recovers from weeks of weeks of relentless bombardment, residents formed long lines to receive rations of flour, pasta, sugar and others staples this week. Moscow's forces withdrew from around Kharkiv earlier this month, pulling back toward the Russian border.

> European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen called for talks with Moscow on unlocking wheat exports now trapped in Ukraine because of a Russian blockade in the Black Sea.

> Russia's parliament passed a bill giving prosecutors powers to shut foreign media bureaus in Moscow if a Western country has been "unfriendly" to Russian media, following the closure of some Russian state news outlets in the West.

> Billionaire financier George Soros said that Russia's invasion of Ukraine may have been the beginning of World War III so the best way to preserve free civilisation was for the West to defeat Putin's forces.

(With inputs from AP, Reuters and AFP)

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