More and more graves are being laid at the cemetery in the village of Manhush, which is around 20 kilometers west of the Ukrainian port of Mariupol.

Russian troops surrounded the southeastern port city weeks ago and also control Manhush and the surrounding area.

Satellite images from the American company Maxar, dated March 23, show how the village cemetery was initially expanded to include a few fresh graves.

Gerhard Gnauck

Political correspondent for Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania based in Warsaw.

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Frederick Smith

Political correspondent for Russia and the CIS in Moscow.

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A week later, a long line has been added, apparently in a field parallel to a road, in four segments Maxar says are each 85 meters long.

A mass grave, judges the company.

On a recording from the beginning of April, more graves have been added.

The city council of Mariupol accuses Russia of burying the corpses of civilians in Manhush: The mortal remains of 3,000 to 4,000 citizens of Mariupol could lie in the mass grave, they say.

The Russians used trucks to bring the dead.

"The biggest war crime of the 21st century was committed in Mariupol," said Mayor Vadym Boychenko on Thursday evening via the Telegram messenger service.

"This is the new Babyn Yar," Boychenko continued, referring to the 1941 German massacre in Kyiv, in which more than 33,000 people were murdered.

“At that time Hitler killed Jews, Roma and Slavs.

Now Putin is destroying Ukrainians.” Tens of thousands of civilians may have been killed in Mariupol.

Steelworks not yet captured

Mariupol is the largest of all Ukrainian cities captured or encircled by Russian troops since February;

and it is now largely destroyed.

Most of the once more than 400,000 inhabitants have fled.

According to Kiev data, "tens of thousands" of residents were deported to Russia.

Various Ukrainian authorities estimate that there are still 50,000 to 150,000 people in the city - the vast majority of them now under Russian control.

The attackers try to crush the remaining defenders of Mariupol.

But they have so far failed to take the Azovstal Steelworks, where the Ukrainians have entrenched themselves.

After Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu reported to Putin on Thursday that Mariupol had been “liberated”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy replied: “We all know that they have conquered the larger part of Mariupol.” But there are still “a few thousand” people on the big one Area of ​​Azovstal, namely soldiers - among them, according to Zelenskyy, 400 wounded - and civilians who fled there.

Kyiv is in constant contact with the defenders and has offered the Russians an exchange of wounded.

Shojgu had promised Putin that the "work" in Mariupol could be completed in "three or four days".

Allegedly in order to protect his own soldiers, Putin then ordered the storming of Azovstal to be stopped and the area only besieged in such a way that "no flies" could get through.

"The Russians are afraid to storm the plant," commented Kiev Minister for the Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk on Friday.

But the Russians wouldn't let civilians out either, "to put additional pressure on our military."

She appealed to the world community to create an escape corridor from the steelworks.

Criticism also of Zelenskyj

However, Selenskyj has to explain again and again why no advance is being made to the symbolic Mariupol in order to free the city.

The President repeatedly says that Ukraine "unfortunately does not receive as many weapons as it needs to end this war more quickly".

This applies "in particular" to the liberation of Mariupol from the Russian occupiers.

On Thursday, Zelenskyj was even clearer: "We can't do that." What remains is a political solution with international participation.

The expectations of Zelenskyj are high.

Well-known journalist Yuriy Butuzov wrote on Friday that the government "cannot confine itself to appeals to the world's leaders.

That is the responsibility of the Commander-in-Chief.” However, Butusov also admitted that fighting when completely encircled is always very difficult.

A brigade of marine infantry is holed up in the steelworks, as well as a unit of the National Guard, which emerged from the nationalist Azov battalion;

this is an occasion for Russian propaganda to portray the defenders as "Nazis".

A representative of the unit who remained in Azovstal, Svyatoslav Palamar, told the BBC that the Russians used bunker-busting bombs, among other things, to attack the steelworks.

Civilians are trapped under the rubble of some buildings.

They reject Russian calls to surrender, knowing that all of Russia's "guarantees" are "worth nothing."

Message "to the German people"

The commander of the marine infantry brigade in Azowstal, Major Serhij Wolynskyj ("Wolyna"), called in an appeal "to the German people", the Federal President and the Federal Government, which he sent to the FAZ via messenger service, that Berlin should be used "as a guarantor for the safe Evacuation of the civilian population and the military from the besieged city occur.

You can save the lives of more than hundred thousand civilians, several thousand members of the Ukrainian garrison and the world from the evil that can destroy the planet.” Volynsky's text goes on to say: “Mariupol can still be saved!

The world must finally say 'never again' and help us.” The people of the city were starving and “in the cellars lie my wounded soldiers with the pus from their wounds”.

Germany now has the chance