Thousands may have been killed in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol since the bombing started four weeks ago. This was according to the U.N. Human Rights Mission’s head, who provided its first estimate on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for Mayor Vadym Borichenko stated Monday that nearly 5,000 people have been killed in Mariupol, including 210 children, since Russian forces took control of the city a month ago.
His office stated that 90% of Mariupol’s buildings were damaged or destroyed and that 40% had been destroyed. This includes hospitals, schools, kindergartens, and factories.”We think there could be thousands, of civilian casualties in Mariupol,” Matilda Bogner (head of the U.N. Human Rights Mission in Ukraine), said in a virtual interview.
She stated that the mission didn’t have an exact estimate, but was still trying to collect more information.
According to witnesses, 300 people were killed by the bombing on March 16 at the Mariupol theatre, where people were staying. Local officials cited witness accounts.
The U.N. human Rights office confirmed that 1,179 civilians were killed in Ukraine’s conflict over the past five weeks. This was despite reporting delays caused by hostilities.
Bogner stated last week that U.N. monitors received additional information regarding Mariupol’s mass graves, including one that contained 200 bodies.
Bogner stated Tuesday that “on the mass graves we’ve decided now that we should call it ‘improvised’.”
She explained that the term “mass graves”, which may refer to victims of a crime or people who died in Mariupol, could be misleading.
She said that civil casualties in conflict were thought to be “fairly small” in the improvised burials in parks and garden.
She added that some people who died naturally weren’t taken to individual graves or morgues because of hostilities. Others never made it to doctors.
She said that it was unclear if any military casualties were buried in the improvised burials.
Robert Mardini (director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross) told Reuters separately that the ICRC had “no firsthand information” about the casualties of the Mariupol theatre attack.