Kyiv – Workers who dug up the rubble found 200 bodies in Mariupol, Ukrainian authorities said on Tuesday, which was another grim discovery in the ruined port city, which suffered some of the greatest suffering of the 3-month war.

The bodies found in the basement of the destroyed apartment building were in a state of disintegration, and the stench permeated the neighborhood, said the mayor’s adviser Peter Andryushchenko.

Mariupol, over which the Russians recently declared full control, has endured some of the hardest sufferings of the war and has become a global symbol of disobedience to the tough defenses that militants have endured for months at a steel plant.

The news of the body’s discovery came shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of waging a “total war” in an effort to inflict as much death and destruction on his country as possible.


“Indeed, there has been no such war on the European continent for 77 years,” Zelensky told Ukrainians on Thursday evening, on the eve of the three-month anniversary of the war.

He pointed to a rocket attack that killed 87 people last week in the town of Desna, 55 kilometers (35 miles) north of Kiev, one of the deadliest single strikes in the war.

“And it was only four missiles,” he said, noting many hundreds of such strikes since the start of the war on February 24.

The conflict began with expectations that Russia could overtake the country in a blitz that lasts only a few days or a few weeks. But fierce resistance from Ukraine, backed by Western weapons, has threatened Moscow’s troops, forcing them to pursue more limited goals.

The Kremlin is now focused on the eastern industrial center of Donbass, where Russian troops have stepped up efforts to encircle and capture Severodonetsk and neighboring cities, British military officials said on Tuesday. This is the only part of the Luhansk region of Donbass that remains under the control of the Ukrainian government.


Russian forces have made “some local successes” despite strong opposition from Ukraine along buried positions, the British Defense Ministry said, but the fall of Severodonetsk and the surrounding area could cause logistics problems for Russians.

“If the front line in the Donbass moves further west, it will expand Russia’s lines of communication and is likely to lead to further difficulties with logistics,” the ministry said.

Trying to win in the Donbass, Moscow withdrew some forces from the second largest city in Ukraine, Kharkiv.

There, residents lined up for rations of tea, sugar, pasta and cereals, continuing plastic bags to get cups of flour and other foods.

Meanwhile, an official stationed in the Kherson region of Ukraine said the pro-Kremlin administration would ask Moscow to set up a military base there.

“This is vital and will guarantee security for the region and its people,” said Deputy Chief of Staff Kirill Stremusov.


Ukrainian officials have suggested that Russia plans to hold a referendum in the region to declare independence, similar to a referendum held many years ago in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Donbass. Moscow recognized the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics two days before the invasion of Ukraine, using this as a basis for sending troops to its former Soviet neighbor.

Instead, Stremusov said the region would ask the Kremlin to make it part of Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the people of Kherson will decide how and where they want to live.

At a meeting in Tokyo with fellow leaders of the Indo-Pacific Security Coalition, known as the Chaver, President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Russia’s war in Ukraine has brought “a dark hour into our common history.”

World defense leaders on Monday agreed to send more modern weapons to Ukraine, including the Harpoon launcher and missiles to protect its coast, Defense Minister Lloyd Austin told reporters.



This was reported by Bekataros from Kramatorsk, Ukraine. Associated Press journalists Yuras Karmanov from Lviv, Andrea Rosa in Kharkiv, Danika Kirka from London and other AP staff around the world.


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