Residents of Mariupol, Ukraine, are being taken to Russian territory against their will by Russian forces, according to a statement Saturday from the Mariupol City Council.
“Over the past week, several thousand Mariupol residents have been taken to Russian territory. 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 statement read.
Captured Mariupol residents were taken to camps where Russian forces checked their phones and documents, the city council said, and then were redirected to remote Russian cities.
The besieged city is under almost constant bombardment, according to a major in Ukraine's army, and residents are rationing food and water as bodies are left in the streets.
There are also conflicting reports over the status of one of Ukraine’s key industrial facilities, the Azov steel plant, in Mariupol. New satellite imagery shows the destruction of the city's bombed theater, with the word "children" clearly visible on the outside of the building.
The statement quoted Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko, who said, "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.”
"It is hard to imagine that in the 21st century people can be forcibly taken to another country," he added.