Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine's president, says the siege of the port city of Mariupol will go down in history for what he calls Russian troops' war crimes.
"What the occupiers did to a peaceful city is a horror that will be remembered for centuries," Zelensky said in an early March 20 video address to the nation.
While the Russian invasion appears to have stalled in large parts of the country and resulted in significant troop and military equipment losses, Russian forces continue to bombard Ukrainian cities despite international condemnation and calls for an immediate cease-fire.
"Children and the elderly are dying in Mariupol. The city has been destroyed and wiped off the face of the Earth," Mariupol police officer Michail Vershnin declared in a video addressed to Western leaders and verified by the Associated Press.
According to local authorities, approximately 400,000 people have been trapped in Mariupol for more than two weeks, sheltered from intense bombardment that has cut off central power, heating, and water supplies.
Rescue workers are still searching for survivors in a Mariupol theater flattened by Russian airstrikes on March 16.
Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, stated on March 19 during televised remarks that Ukrainian and Russian forces were engaged in combat at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
"One of Europe's largest metallurgical plants is being demolished," he explained.
According to the United Nations, at least 847 civilians have been killed and 1,399 injured in Ukraine since the conflict began, though the actual toll is likely much higher.
According to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office, 112 children have been murdered.
According to the World Health Organization, 43 attacks on hospitals and health facilities in Ukraine have been verified, killing 12 people and injuring 34.
According to UN figures, more than 3.3 million people have fled Ukraine as refugees.