On Monday, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko announced that over 10,000 civilians have died in the Ukrainian city since Russia invaded in late February.
Boychenko told the Associated Press that corpses were “carpeted through the streets of our city” and that the final death toll could be more than 20,000.
“Boychenko also said 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,” the AP reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky similarly said that “tens of thousands” were dead in the city.
“Mariupol has been destroyed, there are tens of thousands of dead, but even despite this, the Russians are not stopping their offensive,” Zelensky said in an interview with South Korean lawmakers.
The news comes after the Biden administration has labelled Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” over atrocities committed by Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.
“Since launching his unprovoked and unjust war of choice, Russian President Vladimir Putin has unleashed unrelenting violence that has caused death and destruction across Ukraine,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “We’ve seen numerous credible reports of indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately targeting civilians, as well as other atrocities. Russia’s forces have destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian vehicles, shopping centers, and ambulances, leaving thousands of innocent civilians killed or wounded…”
“Today, I can announce that, based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” the statement concluded. “Our assessment is based on a careful review of available information from public and intelligence sources. As with any alleged crime, a court of law with jurisdiction over the crime is ultimately responsible for determining criminal guilt in specific cases. The U.S. government will continue to track reports of war crimes and will share information we gather with allies, partners, and international institutions and organizations, as appropriate. We are committed to pursuing accountability using every tool available, including criminal prosecutions.”