Sun. Jun 4th, 2023

Russia’s troops are accused of shelling a mosque in Ukraine where scores of people were hiding from the continued invasion.

In Mariupol, about 80 people including children sought safety at the mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

No mention of casualties was made in a statement issued by Ukraine’s foreign ministry.

The foreign ministry tweeted: “The mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxolana (Hurrem Sultan) in Mariupol was shelled by Russian invaders.

“More than 80 adults and children are hiding there from the shelling, including citizens of Turkey.”

Mariupol, on the coast of the Black Sea, has been among the worst-hit cities in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

But despite the destruction Vladimir Putin’s military has unleashed on Ukraine, it appears that his forces are weakening.

Hours after the shelling of the mosque, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was sending new troops to Ukraine after suffering what he said were its biggest losses in decades.

In a televised address, he also accused Russia of kidnapping Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of southeastern city Melitopol, calling the abduction “a new stage of terror”.

CCTV image appears to show Russian forces apprehending Ivan Fedorov


Mr Zelensky urged Russia to uphold an agreed ceasefire to allow evacuations of civilians from Mariupol, and blamed the Kremlin for failures of previous attempts.

Russia had promised earlier this week that it would allow evacuations to take place via humanitarian corridors every day at 10am Moscow time (7am GMT).

More than 1,500 people have been killed in Mariupol – according to the city’s mayoral office – in 12 days of the invasion that Putin launched more than a fortnight ago.

Three of these casualties were two adults and a child that were killed when a maternity and children’s hospital was shelled in the city earlier this week, an attack that Mr Zelensky said was genocide.

Injured pregnant woman carried out from maternity hospital

(AP/Evgeniy Maloletka)

More than 12 hospitals have been attacked by Russia since the invasion started on 24 February, according to the World Health Organisation.

While the mosque was shelled, a cancer hospital was attacked by heavy artillery in Mykolaiv, a city 300 miles west of Mariupol.

Head doctor Maksim Beznosenko said several hundred patients were in the facility during the attack – and no one was killed.

In Mariupol, continued shelling has halted the digging of mass graves, so the “dead aren’t even being buried”, the mayor said.

Dead bodies are placed into a mass grave on the outskirts of Mariupol

(AP/Evgeniy Maloletka)

The widespread bombardment of the city has thwarted attempts to deliver aid to the area, and to evacuate civilians.

Meanwhile, Russian forces appear to have made some progress to reach Kyiv from north-east Ukraine – according to U.S. officials – in the troops’ aim to capture the capital city.

New satellite images – by company Maxar Technologies – appear to show artillery firing on residential areas on the outskirts of Kyiv.

More than 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine amid the conflict.

The United Nations has pegged the figure of Ukrainian civilian deaths at more than 500, but Ukraine said the toll is in the thousands. Thousands of soldiers on both sides have died.

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