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Russia Ukraine conflict

Red Cross confirms strike on Mariupol warehouse, unable to deliver aid since March 15

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has confirmed that its warehouse in Ukraine’s Mariupol was indeed targeted in a Russian strike on Wednesday and revealed that it has not been able to deliver aid due to “the intensity of the fighting” in the besieged city.

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“We can confirm that an image being circulated online shows damage to the ICRC warehouse in Mariupol,” the ICRC said in an email addressed to the media late Wednesday due to the high volume of enquiries on the matter.

“We do not have a team on the ground there, so have no other information on potential casualties or the extent of the damage.”

The Red Cross said that it distributed all the supplies from that warehouse, which included medical supplies for hospitals and relief supplies for people in shelters, earlier this month, adding that no ICRC staff were in the warehouse since March 15.

“No ICRC staff have been at the warehouse since 15 March, and we don’t know how it’s been used since,” the statement read, revealing that the international aid organization has been unable to deliver aid due to the “intensity of the fighting and the absence of functional agreement between the parties [Ukraine and Russia] to allow for safe passage of humanitarian assistance.”

The ICRC facility in the besieged and destroyed port city of Mariupol was struck on Wednesday, AFP reported, where officials have warned of an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe.

Russian forces have encircled the strategic southern city and their shelling has killed at least 5,000 people, officials say, estimating total deaths could be as many as 10,000.

A service member of pro-Russian troops walks near an apartment building destroyed in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 28, 2022. (Reuters)
A service member of pro-Russian troops walks near an apartment building destroyed in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 28, 2022. (Reuters)

“Under international humanitarian law, objects used for humanitarian relief operations must be respected and protected at all times. We are concerned that even a building with a red cross on it can be seriously damaged. Civilian infrastructure, hospitals and medical personnel cannot be targeted. The parties must do everything in their power to avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas and protect civilians against the effects of attacks,” the ICRC said.

“But what we are most outraged by is the overall humanitarian situation in Mariupol and the relentless suffering inflicted on civilians living there. People are trapped with no safe way out of the city, and they are running out of the very basics needed for their survival. This must change.”

Aid groups have repeatedly called for access to Mariupol as conditions continue to deteriorate and Ukrainian government officials have accused Russian forces of forcibly deporting the city’s residents to Russia, AFP reported on Wednesday.

Read more:

Russia strikes hit Red Cross building in Mariupol: Ukraine

‘Not even safe to bury the dead’: UN warns of tough months ahead in Ukraine

Russian invasion: UN chief appeals for ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire’ in Ukraine

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