Mariupol and St. Petersburg will become sister cities, Russia says.


St. Petersburg and the captured Ukrainian port of Mariupol will become sister cities, the Russian governor said.

Alexander Beglov, who runs the St. Petersburg government, has announced that the Russian army is ready to help rebuild the city that has been destroyed by projectiles in three months. He argued that the two places were “connected by a common history and future.”

The devastated city fell into full Russian control last week after the last remaining Ukrainian soldiers who were hiding at the Azovstal steel plant surrendered.

“Mariupol is going through a difficult stage today and we are ready to help with that revival,” Beglov said without directly addressing the human tragedy that unfolded in the city. Thousands of people are estimated to have died in Mariupol during the Russian siege, and recent satellite imagery appears to have dug a mass grave in a nearby village.

The St. Petersburg governor added that his city wants to build relationships with Mariupol in areas including construction, housing and education.

Beglov also vowed to sign an agreement “as soon as possible” with Konstantin Ivashchenko, leader of the Moscow-based Mariupol.

His declaration, posted on the St. Petersburg government website, followed a phone call between him and Ivashchenko and the separatist leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin.

Pucillin admitted last week that about 60% of properties in Mariupol are in unrepairable condition. Ukraine estimates the damage will be much greater.

Saint Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov (right) meets Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) in Moscow on March 1, 2022.

(EPA)

Petro Anlyuchenko, an aide to Ukraine’s mayor Vadym Boichenko, who works outside the Russian-controlled city, said bodies are still being found in the port city. He said about 200 rotten bodies were found under the rubble of a one-story building.

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