Ns News Online Desk: Conditions in Russian-occupied Mariupol are now “medieval,” an advisor to the city’s Ukrainian mayor said Friday. “Mariupol is now in the medieval,” Petro Andriushchenko told national television. “Water supply is only available in 2-3% of the city’s households. People wash their clothes in puddles on the streets.” “The risk of disease spreading is rising day by day. There is information that people come to doctors with symptoms similar to dysentery or cholera,” he said.
The World Health Organization last month said that it too was concerned about the risk of cholera in Mariupol, calling the hygienic situation there “a huge hazard.”
Andriushchenko is not in the city but has been a reliable conduit for information from Mariupol. He said that Russia was in the process of building a “military camp” at the city.
“Departure from Mariupol is possible only to Russia,” Andriushchenko said. “We advise people to leave, but on their own and not in official columns, and then go towards the Baltic countries or Georgia. We advise people to drive non-stop and cross the border ASAP.” Crossing from Russian-occupied Mariupol to Ukrainian-held territory, he said, was impossible.
On May 20, the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol — the final stand and a powerful symbol of Ukrainian resistance in an otherwise Russian-occupied city — fell to Russian troops after nearly three months of brutal fighting.
At least 1,348 civilians were killed during the battle of Mariupol, including 70 children, a top United Nations official said Thursday. “The actual death toll of hostilities on civilians is likely thousands higher,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that the possible granting of European Union candidate status to Ukraine was a result of Russia’s invasion.
In an interview with CNN affiliate BFMTV Friday on board a train leaving Ukraine after his visit to Kyiv, Macron said, “Ukraine normally should not be a candidate” and that they were “doing it because of the war and because we think it’s good.”
Macron was in Ukraine’s capital alongside his German, Italian and Romanian counterparts to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a trip to smooth tensions over what Ukrainian officials perceive as a lukewarm support of their defense against Russia. While Macron said most of western Europe was supportive of the plan, “we have countries that are more reticent,” he said.
The French leader added that the question of Ukraine’s candidacy for the EU will be decided at the European Council summit next Thursday and Friday. “The path is long to join the EU,” he added. He also said that Moldova can also become a candidate for EU accession. The French president visited the eastern European country on Wednesday as part of a two-day trip to Moldova and Romania before his unannounced trip to Ukraine.
Some background: Part of joining the EU means abiding by the Copenhagen Criteria, which entails that a candidate state must have a functioning free-market, if it can uphold European values such as on human rights and law, and if the country has a functioning democracy.
As well as currently being at war, Ukraine is 122nd on the Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index out of 180, highlighting a main reason that the country would not usually be considered an EU candidate member.