The head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, has issued a decree ordering the formation of a city administration for the city of Mariupol, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
The city, which is in the Donetsk region but has been controlled by the Ukrainian government since pieces of Donetsk broke away in 2014, has been besieged by Russian forces since March 1st.
"A local administration of the Donetsk People’s Republic is to be formed in the city of Mariupol," the decree on the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic website noted.
An estimated 90% of the city’s residential buildings have been damaged or destroyed since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24th. Mariupol had a pre-war population of more than 430,000, of which an estimated 100,000 remain in the city.
According to Ukrainian minister of reintegration of temporarily occupied territories, Iryna Vereshchuk, “another 100,000 women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities who need our and the world's help."
On Thursday, 45 buses with evacuees aboard are reportedly held up by Russian forces at the Vasylivka checkpoint, a city between the Russian-held city of Berdiansk and the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia.
Last week, the city’s mayor, Vadym Boychenko, said the entire city requires evacuation. According to him, Russia, “wanted to destroy us as a nation. What is happening in Mariupol and Chernihiv is genocide.”