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A city reduced to ash and smoke: Drone footage reveals Mariupol hellscape

Drone footage has captured the moment Russian missiles turned the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol into a hellscape as Moscow’s forces continue to bombard buildings and civilians run out of food and water.

Video filmed amid a blanket of black smoke rising above the surrounded port city appears to show a missile strike on a set of high-rise buildings, razing at least one of the properties to the ground. 

A second piece of footage shows a string of high-rise buildings burning next to a row of charred structures that appear to have already been hit by Russian missile strikes in Moscow’s relentless bombardment of the city. 

Another clip shows plumes of black smoke rising above Mariupol while flashes of artillery fire continue to light-up the  small port city, which has experienced some of the worst suffering of Moscow’s 19-day war. 

The drone also captured a tank being obliterated in a close-quarter skirmish, leaving the vehicle engulfed in a red-hot blaze and a thick cloud of black smoke. 

It is the latest in Russia’s brutal assault on Mariupol which has been left without food, drinking water or medication for up nearly two weeks, MSF staffer Olexander who is inside the city reported.  

Olexander said residents are forced to search for water, some walking up to three kilometres to find supplies which they then have to boil before drinking.

He said supplies of food, medicines and wood for making fires had run out and that residents have been forced to scrounge for supplies after the city was cut off by Vladimir Putin’s men. 

Drone footage has captured the moment Russian missiles hit buildings in the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol which has been encircled by Moscow’s forces for a week and a half

A second piece of footage shows a string of high-rise buildings burning next to a row of charred structures that appear to have already been hit by Russian missile strikes in Moscow's relentless bombardment of the city

A second piece of footage shows a string of high-rise buildings burning next to a row of charred structures that appear to have already been hit by Russian missile strikes in Moscow’s relentless bombardment of the city 

Another clip shows plumes of black smoke rising above Mariupol while flashes of artillery fire continue to light-up the small port city, which has experienced some of the worst suffering of Moscow's 19-day war

Another clip shows plumes of black smoke rising above Mariupol while flashes of artillery fire continue to light-up the small port city, which has experienced some of the worst suffering of Moscow’s 19-day war

The drone also captured a tank being obliterated in a close-quarter skirmish, leaving the vehicle engulfed in a red-hot blaze and a thick cloud of black smoke

The drone also captured a tank being obliterated in a close-quarter skirmish, leaving the vehicle engulfed in a red-hot blaze and a thick cloud of black smoke

A woman walks past building obliterated by Russian shelling in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on Sunday, March 13

A woman walks past building obliterated by Russian shelling in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on Sunday, March 13

People walk past a crater from the explosion in Mira Avenue, or Avenue of Peace, in Mariupol, Ukraine on Sunday, March 13

People walk past a crater from the explosion in Mira Avenue, or Avenue of Peace, in Mariupol, Ukraine on Sunday, March 13

People look at a burning apartment building in a yard after shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Sunday, March 13

People look at a burning apartment building in a yard after shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Sunday, March 13

Olexander warned the population are without mobile or internet connection and that many do not know what is happening in the rest of Ukraine, or even in the neighbouring district.

He also said that people are dying because of the lack of supplies and depicted a grim reality of neighbours forced to digs holes and bury their friends as the Russian siege stretches on.      

On Monday, a convoy of 160 civilian cars left the surrounded port city of Mariupol along a designated humanitarian route, the city council reported in a rare glimmer of hope for the city where the war has produced some of the greatest suffering. 

It did not say how many people were in the convoy of cars headed westward for the city of Zaporizhzhia, but officials confirmed that a cease-fire along the route appeared to be holding.

Previous attempts to evacuate civilians and deliver humanitarian aid to the city of 430,000 were thwarted by continuing fighting. 

Robert Mardini, director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the war has become ‘nothing short of a nightmare’ for those living in besieged cities, and he pleaded for safe passage for civilians to leave and humanitarian aid to be brought in through the front lines. 

A view onto the yard of a maternity hospital damaged in a Russian shelling attack in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9

A view onto the yard of a maternity hospital damaged in a Russian shelling attack in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9

Ukrainian servicemen and firefighters stand in the area outside of a maternity hospital damaged in a shelling attack in Mariupol on March 9

Ukrainian servicemen and firefighters stand in the area outside of a maternity hospital damaged in a shelling attack in Mariupol on March 9

An aerial view shows smoke rising from damaged residential buildings following an explosion in Mariupol, Ukraine

An aerial view shows smoke rising from damaged residential buildings following an explosion in Mariupol, Ukraine

It was confirmed on Monday that an injured pregnant woman and her unborn baby – whose image being stretchered from her Putin-bombed maternity ward became one of the war’s most shocking images – have both died. 

Pictures of the unnamed mother-to-be in agony as she was carried from the Mariupol hospital appalled the watching world. She had come under attack in the very place she had thought safe to bring new life into the world.

In video and photos shot last Wednesday after the attack, the woman was seen stroking her bloodied lower abdomen as rescuers rushed her through the rubble in the besieged city of Mariupol.   

The woman was rushed to another hospital, closer to the frontline, where doctors worked to keep her alive. 

On Monday morning the doctors trying to save them both spoke of the huge efforts trying to keep them both alive.

Surgeon Timur Marin found the woman’s pelvis crushed and hip detached. Medics delivered the baby via caesarean section, but it showed ‘no signs of life’, the surgeon said. They then began work on the mother.

‘More than 30 minutes of resuscitation of the mother didn’t produce results,’ Mr Marin said on Saturday. ‘Both died.’

The UN has recorded at least 596 civilian deaths since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, though it believes the true toll is much higher. 

Millions more have fled their homes, with more than 2.8 million crossing into Poland and other neighboring countries in what the UN has called Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II.  

Ukrainian emergency employees and volunteers carry the injured pregnant woman from the maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol on March 9

Ukrainian emergency employees and volunteers carry the injured pregnant woman from the maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol on March 9

A medical worker walks inside of the damaged by shelling maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9

A medical worker walks inside of the damaged by shelling maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9

Ukrainian servicemen work inside of the damaged by shelling maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine on the day of the attack

Ukrainian servicemen work inside of the damaged by shelling maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine on the day of the attack

The aftermath of Russia army bombardment on the children hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, which stunned and appalled the world

The aftermath of Russia army bombardment on the children hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, which stunned and appalled the world

Wreckage and debris litter the pavement outside the hospital after the bombing last week, which took patients and medics by surprise

Wreckage and debris litter the pavement outside the hospital after the bombing last week, which took patients and medics by surprise

People are helped out of  damaged building of a children's hospital following a Russian air strike in the southeastern city of Mariupol

People are helped out of  damaged building of a children’s hospital following a Russian air strike in the southeastern city of Mariupol

A fourth round of negotiations involving higher-level officials from Russia and Ukraine were held via video conference on Monday.

The talks ended without a breakthrough after several hours, with Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak saying the negotiators took ‘a technical pause’ and planned to meet again Tuesday.

The two sides had expressed some optimism in the past few days. Podolyak said over the weekend that Russia was ‘listening carefully to our proposals.’ 

He tweeted Monday that the negotiators would discuss ‘peace, ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops & security guarantees.’

Previous discussions, held in person in Belarus, did not produce lasting humanitarian routes or agreements to end the fighting. 

Russia’s military is bigger and better equipped than Ukraine’s, but its troops have faced stiffer-than-expected resistance, bolstered by arms supplied by the West. 

The US said Russia asked China for military equipment to use in Ukraine – a claim the Kremlin denied.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that ‘Russia has its own potential to continue the operation’ and that it was ‘unfolding in accordance with the plan and will be completed on time and in full.’

Russia has denied intending to occupy Ukraine, but Peskov said it ‘does not rule out the possibility of taking full control of large settlements that are now practically surrounded.’

The war expanded Sunday when Russian missiles pounded a military training base in western Ukraine, close to the Polish border, that previously served as a crucial hub for cooperation between Ukraine and NATO.

The attack killed 35 people, Ukrainian officials said, and raised fears that NATO could be drawn into direct conflict with Russia.

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