Photos Chronicle the Devastation of Mariupol

The battle for the port city of Mariupol has waged for weeks, with much of it being destroyed. Mariupol is strategically important, linking Russian-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine with a swath of territory Moscow has captured in the south.

Russian forces continue to encircle the city, fighting block-by-block in an effort to gain control, according to the Institute for the Study of War. A United Nations case study of the Livoberezhnyi District on Mariupol’s eastern edge illustrates how devastating the assault has been to the residential area, also seen in the drone footage above. The analysis compares a satellite image of the city taken on June 21, 2021 to March 14. At least 433 buildings in the study area were damaged or destroyed.

Areas Russia claims to control

Controlled

by or allied

to Russia

Building damage assessment on March 14

Areas Russia claims to control

Building damage assessment on March 14

Areas Russia claims to control

Building damage assessment on March 14

Video drone footage published on March 23 by the Azov Battalion, a far-right group, shows several damaged high-rise apartment buildings in Livoberezhnyi, some with smoke still rising from them.

A screen grab from a video published by Azov Battalion shows destruction in Mariupol last week.


Photo:

Azov Battalion via Storyful

East of Livoberezhnyi and near the city center, a Russian airstrike March 9 hit a maternity hospital, killing three people and wounding 17, the mayor said. A wide, deep crater was visible, with signs that the blast, which took place around 5 pm local time, had knocked down trees and torched cars.

A week later, at least 300 people were killed in the Drama Theater bombed by Russian forces. About 1,000 civilians had been sheltering there. Ukrainians wrote “CHILDREN” in Russian outside the theater to make it visible from the air and protect it from being attacked. Days later, an art school in the district that was sheltering about 400 Mariupol residents, including women and children also was attacked.

The drama theater on March 14.


Photo:

MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES / REUTERS

The theater on March 19.


Photo:

MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES / Associated Press

The bombardment of the city, which has a population of 350,000 to 400,000, was growing heavier and closer by the day. Local officials say Russia has rained 50 to 100 bombs a day on Mariupol, destroying 80% to 90% of the city. The people left in the city are under constant shelling, “in a complete blockade ” without food, water or medicine, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

As Russian forces have pounded Mariupol with airstrikes and artillery, the city has emerged as a symbol of tough Ukrainian resistance, as well as civilian suffering. Thousands of the city’s population have fled, and thousands have been killed, with some buried in mass graves, officials said.

People dug a grave March 20 in Mariupol.


Photo:

ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO / REUTERS

Write to Max Rust at max.rust@dowjones.com and Alexander Cohn at alexander.cohn@wsj.com

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