“Absolute Hellscape”: Human Rights Watch Decries Russian Bombing & Siege of Mariupol

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As Russian forces continue to besiege Ukrainian cities, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused them of reducing the southern city of Mariupol to ashes. All foreign journalists have fled the city as heavy shelling has driven most remaining civilians into hiding in their basements. We speak to Belkis Wille, who just left Ukraine after spending over three weeks documenting the effects of the war and describes “an absolute hellscape” in Mariupol. Disabled people and seniors are often unable to retreat into safe hiding places, says Wille, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The people that we spoke to were the lucky ones. They were the ones with the means and the ability to get out of the city.”

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