Feared Chechen special forces are fighting house-to-house in besieged Mariupol while ‘hundreds’ of women and children remain trapped in the rubble of a city theatre destroyed by Russian invaders.
Video said to have been released by pro-Putin Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov shows heavily armed fighters from the region pounding a high-rise building in the bombed-out city during a fierce gunfight with Ukrainian soldiers.
The propaganda video then cuts before showing some of the Chechen fighters emerging from the building with children in their arms while supposedly ‘liberating’ civilians.
The footage emerged as hundreds of people were still feared trapped under the rubble of a theatre in the devastated city. Evacuees have also told of the ‘hell’ they have been subjected to at the hands of Vladimir Putin’s men.
Serhiy Taruta, a Ukrainian politician, said that around 130 people had been rescued from the building but hundreds of others are unaccounted for – possibly buried under rubble in one part of the bomb shelter, and cannot be evacuated because rescue services have been destroyed by Russian troops.
‘No one understands. Services that are supposed to help are demolished, rescue and utility services… are physically destroyed. A lot of doctors have been killed. This means that all the survivors of the bombing will either die under the ruins of the theater, or have already died,’ he wrote on Facebook.
Meanwhile survivors of the siege who managed to flee described the city as ‘hell’, saying that people are being left to bleed or burn to death in the streets because doctors cannot reach them and hospitals have been destroyed, with the bodies covered by a thin layer of soil in makeshift burials.
Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday that its troops have now entered the city and are fighting in the centre, amid fears that it could soon fall into Putin’s hands after three weeks of shelling weakened the defences. If the city does fall, it will be the largest captured so-far – albeit at the cost of near-totally destroying it.