Mariupol police officer pleads for help from Biden, Macron

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A Ukrainian police officer in Mariupol has warned that the besieged port city has been “wiped off the face of the earth” and pleaded with the presidents of the United States and France to provide his country with a modern air defense system.

This image made available by Azov Battalion, shows the drama theater, damaged after shelling, in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday March 17, 2022.

This image made available by Azov Battalion, shows the drama theater, damaged after shelling, in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday March 17, 2022.
(Azov Battalion via AP)

In a video post from a rubble-strewn street, Mariupol police officer Michail Vershnin told President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron that they had promised assistance, “but what we have received is not quite it,” and urged them to save the civilian population.

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“Children, elderly people are dying. The city is destroyed, and it has been wiped off the face of the earth,” he said speaking in Russian in the video filmed Friday that was authenticated by The Associated Press. In it, flames can be seen coming from several buildings while others were decimated. Apparent explosions could also be heard.

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Local residents carry water from the food warehouse, on the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine, Friday, March 18, 2022.

Local residents carry water from the food warehouse, on the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People’s Republic control, on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine, Friday, March 18, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies on Friday, March 18, 2022 shows damaged and burned apartment buildings in Mariupol, Ukraine.

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies on Friday, March 18, 2022 shows damaged and burned apartment buildings in Mariupol, Ukraine.
(Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP)

“You have promised that there will be help, give us that help. Biden, Macron, you are great leaders. Be them to the end,” he said.

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Vershnin said the city is facing the fate of the Syrian city of Aleppo that was destroyed in 2016 in a Russian-backed siege during Syria’s revolution-turned-civil war. Russia helped Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government with a ruthless strategy by locking sieges around opposition-held areas, bombarding and starving them until the population’s ability to hold out collapsed.

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