Pro-Russian separatist leader Denis Pushilin arrives in Mariupol to check the distribution of humanitarian aid

Photo: AP

Kyiv: The leader of one of the pro-Russian separatist “republics” in the East Ukraine announced on Thursday that he had arrived in the besieged city of Mariupol to check the distribution of humanitarian aid to civilians. Ukraine says nearly 100,000 people are trapped without food, water or electricity in the southeastern city and are coming under fierce shelling by Russian forces.

A video shared by the ‘information ministry’ of the separatist stronghold of Donetsk showed Denis Pushilin visit to a humanitarian aid center run by the russian army with dozens of civilians receiving food. According to separatist media, Pushilin was joined by a senior Russian parliament official, Andrey Turchak, and a Russian MP, Dmitry Sablin.

“Denis Pushilin and his Russian guests checked out the work of the Mariupol Humanitarian Aid Center, organized by President Vladimir Putin’s “United Russia” political party, the separatist website DNR online reported.

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“People received bread, water and basic necessities, medical aid, a field kitchen and generators to charge phones,” the site added. Earlier on Thursday, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said forces from his Russian region had taken control of the town hall in the besieged port of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine. It was not possible to immediately confirm the announcement independently.