Russian Forces Creating 'Humanitarian Crisis' in Mariupol: Deputy Mayor

Russian military forces around the Ukrainian city of Mariupol are creating a "humanitarian crisis," according to the city's deputy mayor.

"The situation in [the] city is quite critical...the city is surrounded by Russian troops, Russian army," Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov said during an interview with CNN's John Berman on Thursday. "[The] city is internally Ukrainian. It's controlled by the Ukrainian army and national guard. But the situation in [the] city goes to humanitarian crisis because [the] Russian army, their style of war is to make [a] humanitarian crisis."

"For example, we do not have electricity in [the] whole city, we do not have water supply, we do not have a sanitary system and we do not have heating," Orlov continued. "Only natural gas supply is left."

According to Orlov, the southeastern city of Mariupol has experienced "continuous shelling for 26 hours."

"Twenty-six hours they are destroying our city," Orlov added.

The comments by the city's deputy mayor come as Russian military forces continue to attack a number of different cities across Ukraine. According to reports, Russian-backed forces reportedly control the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, located to the east of Mariupol.

Additionally, on Wednesday, reports suggested that the city of Kherson, located to the west of Mariupol, was under Russian control.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said that it had "taken full control" of the city of Kherson and the city's Mayor Ihor Kolykhaiev said in a Facebook post that "armed visitors" entered the city council. However, Ukrainian government officials have disputed these reports that the city was under Russian control.

During the interview with CNN on Thursday, Orlov also said that at least 200 civilians in Mariupol have died but noted that the number could change as city officials "cannot collect all the bodies."

"We are asking for help, military help and we are waiting for military help," Orlov said. "Several days we can fight....we are surrounded by [the] Russian army, which has more people in their army."

While speaking with the BBC on Thursday, residents currently in Mariupol described the current situation.

"There has been no light, no heat, and no water now for two full days and we have hardly any food left," a Mariupol citizen identified only as Maxim told the BBC. "Food and medicine is not moving in Mariupol now. The local government tried to give out bread and water but it is gone...The city was completely black overnight, there was no source of light apart from the explosions. It was quiet for a few hours but then at dawn, it started again. We can hear it now from every direction. We are terrified."

Mariupol
The Deputy Mayor of Mariupol Sergei Orlov said on Thursday that Russian military forces around the city are creating a "humanitarian crisis" as the city has no electricity or heating. Above, a car drives on a road near Ukraine's industrial port city of Mariupol on February 23, 2022. Aleksey Filippov/Getty