Russia accused of deliberate tactics of starvation in Mariupol as lawyers submit report to ICC
Mariupol (Photo: EPA)

The Russian army used a "deliberate pattern" of starvation tactics during the 85-day siege of Mariupol in early 2022, which amounts to a war crime, reported The Guardian with reference to a new analysis submitted to the International Criminal Court.

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This report was submitted to the International Criminal Court in The Hague by Global Rights Compliance lawyers working together with the Ukrainian government.

Russia and its leaders reportedly intended to kill and harm large numbers of civilians.

Lawyers calculated that during the siege and capture of Mariupol at the beginning of the all-out war, 22,000 people died, and a few days after the siege, civilians were left without water, gas and electricity, and the temperature dropped below -10 C.

Global Rights Compliance Partner Catriona Murdoch said the research aimed to "see if there was a broader narrative" of the Russian military and leadership's deliberate denial of food and other necessities of life — a strategy of starvation that could be equated to war crime

She noted that lawyers drew attention to four phases of the Russian attack:

→ attack on civilian infrastructure;
→ cutting out the supply of electricity, heating and water supply;
→ denial of humanitarian evacuation;
→ attacks while help could not come.

She said the staged shelling of Mariupol demonstrated that Russia planned to capture the city without mercy for the estimated 450,000 civilians by February 24, 2022.

На кладовищі в Маріуполі цифрами позначені могили невідомих місцевих жителів, які загинули під час боїв у місті (Фото: EPA)
At the cemetery in Mariupol, the graves of unknown local residents who died during the fighting in the city are marked with numbers (Photo: EPA)

The report concluded that approximately 90% of the city's health facilities and homes were destroyed or damaged during the siege, while food distribution points and humanitarian evacuation routes were bombed.

On April 30, the mayor of the city, Vadym  Boychenko, said that 934 of the 2,000 high-rise buildings in Mariupol do not exist as they were destroyed by Russian aircraft. In total, 50% of the city does not exist, and the other half is damaged: 52,000 families from Mariupol are currently homeless.

On June 3, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Lytvynenko said that the Russian strategy for capturing cities may evolve as the war continues, in particular, the Russians destroyed Mariupol in part due to miscalculations in planning.

On March 16, 2022, Russian troops purposefully destroyed a drama theater in the center of Mariupol, where about 1,000 civilians were hiding from raids. At the same time, in the courtyards of the drama theater there were two large inscriptions CHILDREN, which were visible even from the satellite.

The clearance of rubble was complicated by shelling. On March 18, the city authorities reported that, tentatively, no casualties had been found.

On March 25, the Mariupol City Council, referring to the data of eyewitnesses, reported that about 300 people died as a result of the bombing of the drama theater.

On April 23, the city hall reported that the Russians were removing the bodies of the dead from under the rubble of the theater and taking them to Manhush, where they were dumping them in a 300-meter mass grave.

Learn more: During full-scale war, Russian army damaged over 210,000 buildings in Ukraine – NYT