Russian troops 'burning bodies of dead Ukrainians in shopping centre'

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A resident looks on near a building destroyed in the course of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 10, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
A resident walks past a building in Mariupol that was destroyed by Russian shelling. (Reuters)

The mayor of the besieged city of Mariupol has given new details about claims Russian troops have burned the bodies of dead Ukrainians in mobile crematoriums.

Vadym Boychenko told the AP news agency that Russian soldiers have taken bodies to a large shopping centre where there are storage facilities and refrigerators.

He said troops are using mobile cremation equipment to methodically dispose of the bodies of victims of the siege.

He said: “Mobile crematoriums have arrived in the form of trucks: You open it, and there is a pipe inside and these bodies are burned."

Boychenko said he had heard from several sources that Russians were burning bodies in his city, but would not reveal where his information came from.

Last week he warned that the city was being turned into a "death camp" and compared the situation to a "new Auschwitz".

Service members of pro-Russian troops inspect streets during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 7, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
Pro-Russian troops on patrol on the streets of Mariupol. (Reuters)
Emergency workers remove debris of a building destroyed in the course of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 10, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
Emergency workers remove debris from a building destroyed in Mariupol, Ukraine. (Reuters)

Mariupol has been subjected to a relentless bombardment from Russian forces that has caused widespread destruction and where conditions remain desperate.

On Monday, president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he believed tens of thousands of people had been killed in the southern Ukrainian port city.

Ukrainian officials are also investigating unverified claims of a chemical weapons attack on the city on Monday.

Watch: Drone footage shows devastation of Mariupol

Read more: Cambridge student joining Ukraine frontline vows to carry on studying remotely

Ukrainian troops in the city warned on Monday that they were running out of ammunition as they prepared for a "last battle" with Russian forces in the city.

The 36th marine brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces wrote on Facebook: “It’s death for some of us and captivity for the rest.”

Boychenko said the weeks of attacks have left the bodies of Mariupol's people “carpeted through the streets”.

He accused Russian forces of blocking humanitarian convoys into the city in an attempt to hide the devastation there from the outside world.

He said about 120,000 civilians are in desperate need of food, water, heat and communications.

Residents queue to get water during the Ukraine-Russia conflict, in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 10, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
Residents queue to get water in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine. (Reuters)

Ukraine has already said that more than 1,200 bodies have been found in mass graves around the capital Kyiv.

On Tuesday, Russian president Vladimir Putin appeared alongside Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko and said his invasion of Ukraine will achieve what he called its "noble" aims.

In a public appearance at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, 3,500 miles east of Moscow, to mark the 61st anniversary of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man in space, Putin claimed his forces are aiding oppressed people in separatist regions of Ukraine.

"On the one hand, we are helping and saving people, and on the other, we are simply taking measures to ensure the security of Russia itself," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko pose during their meeting at the Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Tsiolkovsky, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the city of Blagoveshchensk in the far eastern Amur region Tsiolkovsky , Russia, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. Russia on Tuesday marks the 61th anniversary of Gagarin's pioneering mission on April 12 1961, the first human flight to orbit that opened the space era. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko and Russian president Vladimir Putin meet at the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia. (Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

"It's clear that we didn't have a choice. It was the right decision. The goals are perfectly clear, they are noble."

On Tuesday, UK armed forces minister James Heappey said the West will have “all options on the table” if Putin’s forces are found to have used chemical weapons in their assault on Mariupol, following claims a chemical agent was used in a drone attack on the besieged city.

"There are some things that are beyond the pale and the use of chemical weapons will get a response, and all options are on the table for what that response could be," he told Sky News on Tuesday.

A military man looks at the rubbles of buildings destroyed by Russian shelling, amid Russia's Invasion of Ukraine, in Borodyanka, Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 11, 2022. (Photo by Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A Ukrainian soldier examines the rubble from buildings destroyed by Russian shelling in Borodyanka, Kyiv, on Monday. (Getty Images)
A bird flies over the rubble of a building destroyed by Russian shelling, amid Russia's Invasion of Ukraine, in Borodyanka, Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 11, 2022. (Photo by Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Building destroyed by Russian shelling in Borodyanka, Kyiv, Ukraine. (Getty Images)

Foreign secretary Liz Truss said the UK was working urgently with partners to verify details of the attack.

The Azov regiment, a unit with far-right links which is defending Mariupol, claimed the substance was delivered by a drone.

Click on this image to see all Yahoo News UK's latest content on the Ukraine crisis
Click on this image to see all Yahoo News UK's latest content on the Ukraine crisis

The Kyiv Independent news website reported that Azov leader Andriy Biletsky said that three people have clear signs of chemical poisoning.

Truss said: “Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict and we will hold Putin and his regime to account.”

Watch: 'All options on the table' if Russia has used chemical weapons

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