Nearly 5,000 people, including about 210 children, have been killed in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol since Russian forces laid siege to it, a spokesperson for the mayor said on Monday.
It was not immediately clear how Mayor Vadym Boichenko had calculated the toll from a month of Russian bombardment that has devastated the city and trapped tens of thousands of residents without power and with few supplies.
Boichenko’s office said 90% of Mariupol’s buildings had been damaged and 40% destroyed, including hospitals, schools, kindergartens and factories.
About 140,000 people had fled the city on the Sea of Azov before the Russian siege began and 150,000 have exited since then, leaving 170,000 still there, according to its figures, which Reuters could not immediately verify.
Boichenko, who is no longer in Mariupol, said on national television earlier on Monday that about 160,000 civilians were still trapped in the city.
“People are beyond the line of humanitarian catastrophe,” he said. “We need to completely evacuate Mariupol.”
Ukraine said it was impossible to create any safe corridors on Monday, citing intelligence reports about possible Russian “provocations” along the routes.
Russia, which invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, denies targeting civilians and blames Ukraine for repeated failures to agree on safe corridors for trapped residents.
“The Russian Federation is playing with us. We are in the hands of the invaders,” Boichenko said.
The two sides are set to resume peace talks on Tuesday in Turkey.