Russia killed twice as many people in Mariupol as Nazi Germany: mayor

As Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine prepares to enter its 11th week, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko says the death toll among his civilians has already doubled the number caused by the German Nazis over a two-year period during World War II.

Boychenko didn’t mince words in his assertions on Saturday. Boychenko posted on his telegram channel.

“In two years, the Nazis killed 10,000 civilians in Mariupol. And the Russian occupiers in two months – more than 20,000 Mariupol. More than 40,000 people were forcibly deported,” Boychenko said. “This is one of the worst genocides of civilians in modern history. The Russian military is deliberately and ruthlessly destroying our city and its people.”

Boychenko used words like “racist” to describe the worst his city’s residents had ever experienced, saying the forced deportations “have already illegally deported as many residents of Mariupol as Hitler’s troops during the years of occupation”.

“Racism is the fascism of the 21st century,” Boychenko wrote. “No doubts or illusions. Humanity paid a high price for the victory over fascism in the last century. If we don’t unite today and stop this evil, the price this time could be much higher.”

Russian soldiers patrol the Mariupol Drama Theater which was bombed on March 16, 2022 in Mariupol, as Russian troops step up a campaign to take the strategic port city, in a massive attack planned in the eastern Ukraine, while the Russian president makes a defiant case for war against neighboring Russia.
Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images

There has been no specific number of civilians killed in Mariupol since the war began in late February. The city council initially said 10,000 people had been killed, but now claims at least 20,000 have been killed.

The town was devastated and more recently civilians were housed in the Azovstal steelworks complex. There were reportedly ceasefires to allow human corridors to evacuate residents, but there were also conflicting reports of Russian troops thwarting evacuation attempts.

Mariupol is a strategic seaport along the Sea of ​​Azov, and also the scene where a drama theater housing children and women was shelled by Russian artillery. Outside the theater at either end were the words “Children” painted in Russian.

Mariupol Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov said up to 1,200 people had sought refuge in the theatre. A bomb landed in the middle of the overcrowded shelter. Some women and children were able to escape, but the death toll in the theater is unknown.

After the bombing, Boychenko called it a “genocide” of Ukrainians.

“The only word to describe what happened today is genocide, genocide of our nation, of our Ukrainian people,” Boychenko said.

Illia Ponomarenko, defense reporter for the Kyiv Independent, tweeted at the time: “It’s a miracle: civilians who were hiding in a basement of the Mariupol Drama Theater survived the airstrike.” Ponomarenko adds, “they are evacuated under the ruins”.

After forced and voluntary evacuations, around 100,000 people remained in Mariupol. Russia has occupied almost everything except the steelworks, which sees heavy fighting between Russian troops and Ukrainian defenders every day.

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