This file photo shows Volunteers removing the debris of a theatre building destroyed during Russia bombardment in Mariupol. This is not the actual building under which dead bodies have been reportedly found. Photograph:( Reuters )
Mariupol is the only major city Russia has been able to capture after its invasion that began on February 24
Workers removing rubble from a collapsed building in Ukrainian city Mariupol found around 200 corpses in the basement of the building, as per an advisor to mayor of Mariupol.
Petro Andryushchenko said on Telegram that the bodies were rotting and the stench had spread in the neighbourhood. Associated Press said that the report could not be independently verified.
Russia has claimed it has control over Mariupol, a key port city of Ukraine on its Azov Sea coast. Mariupol is the only major city Russia has been able to capture after its invasion that began on February 24. Russian bombing battered Mariupol for months and a last pocket of Ukrainian resistance remained in Azovstal steel factory. But the garrison has now surrendered.
Capture of Mariupol was considered vital by Russia as it failed to capture any major city. Mariupol being a port may enhance Russia's capabilities to transport men and material. The loss of port is likely to mean loss of vital trade to Ukraine.
Another factor that boosted Mariupol's imporatance in Russian calculus was its strategic location. Mariupol falls between Donbas and Crimea. Russia already controls Crimea and has influence in Donbas. Mariupol is a vital city enabling Russia to connect these two regions.
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