Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have seized Mariupol port, their leader claims. The information has not been independently confirmed.
Ukrainian forces are losing ground in the southern city, but Mariupol is not yet completely in the hands of Russian troops and separatists.
“As for the port of Mariupol, it is already under our control,” Denis Pushilin said, according to Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency. He leads the separatists who have declared their own people’s republic in the Donetsk region. Mariupol is located in the south of this region.
Mariupol has been surrounded and under heavy fire for weeks. The city has been largely destroyed, and there is a shortage of food, water and medicine. Residents can travel to safer areas via humanitarian corridors but must have their own transport.