Photos: Mariupol Residents suffer as Russian forces lay siege

Civilians in the besieged port of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine are anxiously waiting for news of evacuation efforts as they struggle to survive in a city where bodies have been left uncollected on the streets.

Mariupol has been without water, heat, sanitary systems or phones for several days, one of the most desperate scenes of the nearly two-week-old Russian war in Ukraine.

An estimated 200,000 people – nearly half the population of about 430,000 – hope to flee the city.

There have been repeated attempts to establish a humanitarian corridor to ease the suffering, only for ceasefire agreements to collapse under renewed shelling.

With water supplies cut, people have been collecting water from streams or melting snow.

Power cuts mean that many residents have lost internet access and now rely on their car radios for information, picking up news from stations broadcast from areas controlled by Russian or Russian-backed separatist forces.

Theft of food, clothes and even furniture has become widespread.

Russia is fighting hard for control of the port, which would ensure a land route to the Crimean Peninsula that it annexed in 2014.

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