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artillery fire makes it ‘impossible’ to evacuate civilians from Sievierodonetsk plant, governor says – live

The extent of death and destruction in Mariupol “strongly suggests” serious violations of international law that will leave an “indelible mark” on generations to come, according to UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet.

Last month, Russia declared victory in its months-long battle to conquer the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol after Ukraine ordered the last of its troops holed up in Azovstal steelworks to lay down their arms.

Between February and the end of April, Mariupol was “probably the deadliest place in Ukraine”, Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Bachelet said:

The intensity and extent of hostilities, destruction, death and injury strongly suggest that serious violations of international law…have occurred.

She said her staff, who did not have access to Mariupol, had verified 1,348 civilian deaths in the city, including 70 children. The actual toll of hostilities among civilians is “probably in the thousands”, she said.

“At least” 22,000 people were killed in the siege of Mariupol, Ukrainian government representative Tetiana Lomakina said. Another 47,000 were “forcibly transferred” to Russia or other occupied territories, she said.

Bachelet said the current situation in the Russian-occupied city remained “catastrophic”, with residents remaining “struggling daily with limited access to basic public services and social services, such as medical care”.

She warned of possible abuse of some of the more than 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers from Mariupol currently being held as prisoners of war.

Bachelet said:

The horrors inflicted on the civilian population will leave their indelible mark, including on generations to come.

About parents who had to bury their own children, about people who watched their friends commit suicide, about families torn apart, about everyone who had to leave a beloved city with uncertain prospects of ever seeing it again.