Following continued attacks on residential blocks, hospitals, journalists, and evacuees, patients and staff at the largest hospital in the city of Mariupol in Southern Ukraine have been taken hostage by Russian forces, according to Mariupol Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov.
“The biggest hospital in the 17th district of our cities is captured by Russian troops, and the Russian army used doctors and patients as hostages in this building. We do not have any access to them,” said the mayor.
According to Orlov, Russian forces had captured the Mariupol Regional Intensive Care Hospital and were allegedly using patients and doctors like hostages. 500 Ukrainians in total are said to be held captive in the hospital, including 400 civilians from neighboring houses also being held within the building.
“We can confirm this information, and also the governor of Donetsk region has confirmed this confirmation. We received information that there are 400 people there,” Orlov said. A report by the Associated Press puts the number of hostages at 500.
The human rights organization Media Initiative for Human Rights in Ukraine also verified the information. They have received reports from their hotline stating that Russian troops had occupied the Mariupol Regional Intensive Care Hospital.
Regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko received information that these civilians from neighboring houses were ‘forcibly’ moved to the hospital and that they could not leave. More so, cars are not able to drive to the hospital as high-rise buildings are burning within the area.
British journalist Andrew Marr during his show on LBC accused the Russians of using SS tactics as he received reports of hostage-taking in Mariupol, where Russians were allegedly shooting those who were trying to escape.
“Today’s menu contains the report that Russia is holding hostage the patients and medical staff of Mariupol hospital and shooting those trying to escape. If that’s true, and the fog of war hangs over Ukraine, I think we could fairly call it SS tactics,” said Marr.
Kyrylenko also stated that “It’s impossible to leave the hospital; they are shooting hard.” Additionally, the Media Initiative for Human Rights in Ukraine also reported an eyewitness account that patients who risked breaking out of the hospital turned prison had returned with gunshot-related injuries. The information was said to be from a doctor within the hospital and could not be named as of this time.
Despite the attacks and the hostage-taking, doctors and medical practitioners still within the hospital are continually treating patients in the basement.
The city of Mariupol is not a stranger to these bombings and attacks as it has been continually under fire for the past two weeks, with Ukrainian local government officials putting the death toll at around 20,000 in total. This includes 691 confirmed civilians killed and 1143 injured as per the United Nations. However, this number can be higher as the number of casualties is difficult to determine at the moment.
The pregnant woman in the photo has died, according to the Associated Press. Her unborn child has also died.
The woman was injured in the Russian attack on the maternity hospital in Mariupol on March 9.
Photo: Evgeniy Maloletka via Instagram. pic.twitter.com/n2v5I9k7DH
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 14, 2022
This report also comes after Russian forces had bombed a maternity and children’s hospital in the same city, where a direct hit was recorded by the Ukrainian officials. A photograph of a Ukrainian pregnant woman who was carried on a stretcher had gone viral in the days that followed; she has now reportedly died together with her baby. According to medical reports, the woman had suffered a crushed pelvis and a detached hip.
“Realizing she was losing her baby, medics said, she cried out to them, ‘Kill me now!'” according to an AP report. Upon this command, the medics delivered the baby via cesarean section but did not see any signs of life. Both of them died even 30 minutes of resuscitation attempts.
Zelensky, in a reaction toward the bombing, said that “People, children are under the wreckage. Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror?” and again called for its NATO allies to “close the sky” to stop the killings.
Mariupol. Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage. Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror? Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity. pic.twitter.com/FoaNdbKH5k
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 9, 2022
In response to the Russian shelling, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed that the Ukrainian forces were occupying the hospital with “equipped combat positions” and that there were numerous videos circulating online that show Ukrainian forces within the hospital. However, publicly available videos from the earlier attack only showed staff and patients.
On a hopeful note for civilians caught in the crossfire, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, reported that around 20,000 people in 4,000 vehicles had left Mariupol via a humanitarian corridor to Zaporizhzhia. However, 400,000 people are still trapped in the city without running water and low food supplies.
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