The city council of Mariupol, Ukraine, said on Saturday that thousands of the city’s residents had been forcibly taken into Russia, with the mayor likening their removal to actions performed by the Nazis during World War II, CNN reported.
Mariupol, which sits in the southeastern region of Ukraine, has been the site of constant attacks by Russian forces, who city officials say killed several thousand residents in one day alone last week. The city has seen a mosque, a children’s hospital and a theater bombed, among other buildings.
“Over the past week, several thousand Mariupol residents have been taken to Russian territory,” the city council said in a statement, according to CNN. “The occupiers illegally took people from the Livoberezhny district and from the shelter in the sports club building, where more than a thousand people (mostly women and children) were hiding from the constant bombing.”
The phones and documents of Mariupol residents were later checked at camps that the Ukrainians were taken to, before some were redirected to remote Russian cities, CNN reported. The city council noted that it could not account for the whereabouts of all the residents.
Earlier this week, President BidenJoe Biden Defense & National Security — Biden sends new warning to China Energy & Environment — Interior to continue oil leasing plans Health Care — Fauci warns of cases rising again MORE called Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFormer national security adviser Gen. Jones: Putin ‘miscalculated’ when it comes to Ukraine invasion Defense & National Security — Biden sends new warning to China Energy & Environment — Interior to continue oil leasing plans MORE a “war criminal” and Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony Blinken Defense & National Security — Biden sends new warning to China Russian mistakes mean war likely to last The cost of war and war crimes MORE said that he personally agreed with the president that war crimes had occurred in Ukraine.
“Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime,” Blinken said on Thursday. “After all the destruction of the past three weeks, I find it difficult to conclude that the Russians are doing otherwise.”
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said in a statement that older people may be familiar with the unfolding developments in Mariupol, which he likened to events that occurred at the hands of the Nazis.
“What the occupiers are doing today is familiar to the older generation, who saw the horrific events of World War II, when the Nazis forcibly captured people,” Boichenko said, CNN reported. “It is hard to imagine that in the 21st century people can be forcibly taken to another country.”