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Ukraine war: Southern city of Mariupol on brink of humanitarian catastrophe after Russian invasion, says mayor

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The Ukrainian city of Mariupol is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe with 160,000 civilians trapped, its mayor has said.

Vadym Boychenko said the southern port city must be fully evacuated and 26 buses were waiting to start ferrying people out of the area.

But he said Russian forces had not agreed to give them safe passage, saying they were “playing with us.”

Putin’s forces “withdraw from some areas”: follow live updates

Boychenko said people were trapped in Mariupol without heat or electricity after weeks of Russian bombardment.

It comes as Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Hanna Malyar, said Russian forces were regrouping but could not make significant gains in the country.

She said that Russian forces were trying to reinforce the positions they already had and were trying to break through kyiv’s defenses, but stated that they had no hope of capturing the capital.

“As of today, the enemy is regrouping its forces, but they cannot advance anywhere in Ukraine,” he said.

According to Reuters, UK military intelligence said Russia had gained more ground in Mariupol amid heavy fighting, but that its forces had made no major gains in the country.

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