Mariupol mayor claims over 10,000 civilians have died in the city.
Day 48. Ukrainian officials accused Russia of using chemical weapons in Mariupol. The city’s mayor echoed President Volodymyr Zelenskyy when he said over 10,000 civilians have been killed.
Fighting will continue to grow in the East. I will update my post better than I did yesterday.
Marine Le Pen Doesn’t Support Sanctions on Russian Gas
French president candidate Marine Le Pen doesn’t support sanctions on Russian gas because it would affect the French. She’s right. Until Europe lets go of Russian energy the sanctions will just end up hurting them:
In an interview with France Inter Radio, she said she did not want the French people “to suffer the consequences of sanctions” on oil and gas.
France, like many other European countries, imports much of its natural gas through pipelines from Russia, using it for residential and commercial energy.
Le Pen, who will battle Emmanuel Macron for the presidency in a run-off on 24 April, has been criticised by rivals over her past support for Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
She appeared to back Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 but describes the current invasion as a different situation.
US Cannot Confirm Chemical Weapons
The US cannot confirm the Russians used chemical weapons in Mariupol:
The US cannot confirm the potential use of chemical agents by Russia in Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol at this time, a senior US defence official said today.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US did not have information to confirm any movement of chemical agents by Russia in or near Ukraine.
Hanna Malyar, Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister, said Kyiv was checking unverified information that Russia may have used chemical weapons while besieging Mariupol.
Russian President Vladimir Putin supposedly purged and arrested a bunch of agents at the Federal Security Bureau (FSB):
In a sign of President Putin’s fury over the failures of the invasion, about 150 Federal Security Bureau (FSB) officers have been dismissed, including some who have been arrested.
All of those ousted were employees of the Fifth Service, a division set up in 1998, when Putin was director of the FSB to carry out operations in the countries of the former Soviet Union with the aim of keeping them within Russia’s orbit.
The service’s former chief, Sergei Beseda, 68, has been sent to Lefortovo prison in Moscow after he was placed under house arrest last month. The prison was used by the NKVD, the KGB’s predecessor, for interrogation and torture during Stalin’s Great Purge of the 1930s.
The FSB purge was reported by Christo Grozev, executive director of Bellingcat, the investigative organisation that unmasked the two Salisbury poisoners in 2018. He did not reveal the source of his information.
Zelenskyy said on Monday that Russians killed over 10,000 civilians in Mariupol. The mayor backed him up:
The besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol yielded up more horrors after six weeks of pummeling by Russian troops, with the mayor saying more than 10,000 civilians have died in the strategic southern port, their corpses “carpeted through the streets.”
As Russia pounded targets around Ukraine and prepared for a major assault in the east, the country’s leader warned President Vladimir Putin’s forces could resort to chemical weapons, and Western officials said they were investigating an unconfirmed claim by a Ukrainian regiment that a poisonous substance was dropped in Mariupol.
The city has seen some of the heaviest attacks and civilian suffering in the war, but the land, sea and air assaults by Russian forces fighting to capture it have increasingly limited information about what’s happening inside the city.
Speaking by phone Monday with The Associated Press, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko accused Russian forces of having blocked weeks of attempted humanitarian convoys into the city in part to conceal the carnage. Boychenko said the death toll in Mariupol alone could surpass 20,000.
Chemical Weapons in Mariupol?
That’s what the National Guard Azov regiment claims:
Ukraine’s National Guard Azov regiment has accused Russia of using chemical weapons during an assault on the southern port city of Mariupol Monday afternoon, according to a report.
The missile attack included a “poisonous substance” that resulted in “disastrous consequences” for its victims, some of whom now suffer from “respiratory failure, vestibulo-atactic syndrome,” Azov leader Andriy Biletsky said on Telegram.
The U.S. and the U.K. have been unable to confirm the use of a chemical agent in the attack.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the attack potentially included “tear gas mixed with chemical agents” and that the U.S. would continue to investigate the claim.
Russia’s latest attack on Mariupol comes amid a six-week siege on the city, which has left more than 10,000 civilians dead, according to its governor.
Corpses “carpeted through the streets” of Mariupol, said Mayor Vadym Boychenko, who also predicted the death toll could exceed 20,000.
About 120,000 civilians remain in the city, desperate for food and water, the mayor added.
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