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21K Mariupol civilians dead since start of Russian invasion, mayor says

Click to play video: 'Family escapes besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol' Family escapes besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol
An emotional reunion for one family, who left their home in Mariupol and look forward to starting a new life in BC. Catherine Urquhart reports – Apr 6, 2022

The mayor of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol said on Tuesday the latest estimate was that about 21,000 civilian residents of the port city had been killed since the start of Russia’s invasion.

In televised comments, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said it had been difficult to calculate the exact number of casualties since street fighting had started.

Boychenko told the Associated Press Monday Russian forces have brought mobile crematoria to the city to dispose of the bodies, and accused Russian forces of refusing to allow humanitarian convoys into the city in an attempt to disguise the carnage.

Read more: Ukraine investigating reports Russia may have used chemical weapons in Mariupol

The mayor had previously claimed 5,000 dead. He explained this data was from March 21, but “thousands more people were lying on the streets, it was just impossible for us to collect them.”

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About 120,000 civilians remain in Mariupol in dire need of food, water, warmth and communications, the mayor said Monday.

Boychenko said that about 150,000 people have been able to leave the city in private vehicles for other parts of Ukraine and that at least 33,000 were taken to Russia or to separatist territory in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Max Hunder Writing by Alexander Winning, Editing by William Maclean)

With files from the Associated Press

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