Russia 'bombs mosque sheltering more than 80' in besieged city, says Ukrainian government

Russian's army tanks move through a street on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine. Credit: AP

A mosque sheltering more than 80 people in besieged Mariupol has been bombed by the Russian military, according to the Ukrainian government.

A statement issued on Saturday did not give any immediate reports of casualties.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Turkey reported earlier that a group of 86 Turkish nationals, including 34 children, were among those seeking refuge from an ongoing Russian attack on the encircled port city.

An embassy spokeswoman cited information from the city’s mayor. She noted that it was difficult to communicate with anyone in Mariupol.

Mariupol has seen some of the greatest misery from the invasion as unceasing barrages have thwarted repeated attempts to bring in food and water and to evacuate trapped civilians.

The ongoing bombardment forced crews to stop digging trenches for mass graves, so the “dead aren’t even being buried,” the mayor said.

An photographer captured the moment when a tank appeared to fire directly on an apartment building, enveloping one side in a billowing orange fireball.

A tank fired into the side of a building in Mariupol. Credit: AP

As of Friday, the death toll in Mariupol passed 1,500 during 12 days of attack, the mayor’s office said.

Earlier this week, a maternity hospital was bombed in the city, leaving children under the rubble.

Russian forces have hit at least two dozen hospitals and medical facilities since they invaded Ukraine on February 24, according to the World Health Organization.

Ukrainian officials reported on Saturday that heavy artillery damaged a cancer hospital and several residential buildings in Mykolaiv, a city 489 kilometers (304 miles) west of Mariupol.

Elsewhere, air raid sirens rang out across the capital region and artillery barrages sent residents scurrying for shelter. Fighting erupted in multiple areas around Kyiv.

Artillery pounded Kyiv’s northwestern outskirts. To the city’s southwest, two columns of smoke rose in the town of Vaslkyiv after a strike on an ammunition depot.

The strike on the depot caused hundreds of small explosions from detonating ammunition.

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