KEY POINTS

  • A test on liquid samples taken from the drinking water confirmed the presence of Coliform bacteria
  • A doctor said the water should be boiled and decontaminated before consuming
  • Mariupol residents have been living in unsanitary conditions since the Russian army took over

The Russian military has allegedly been giving the residents of a Ukrainian city drinking water with bacteria commonly found in feces, a city council report said.

Officials at the Mariupol City Hall on Tuesday posted the results of a test conducted on liquid samples volunteers took from drinking water the Russian army is allegedly distributing to residents. The test detected traces of Coliform bacteria, a bacteria usually found in feces.

"According to the rules and regulations on sanitation, no coliforms may be present in drinking water. These bacteria fall into the e-coli group. They are frequently found in surface waters. So this water is not sufficiently decontaminated for human consumption,” experts from Ukrainian water utility company Vodocanal said in the report.

Oleksandr Lazarenko, director of the Center for Children’s Health Center, said that the water the Russian military is distributing is not safe for consumption, adding that it should be boiled before drinking. Consuming contaminated water could lead to several infections, including dysentery and cholera.

There have been several accounts of unsafe and unsanitary living conditions in Mariupol since the Russian army took over the city in late April. Petro Andriushchenko, adviser to Mariupol’s mayor, said the majority of residents living in the Livoberezhny and Kalmiusky districts are forced to cook food on bonfires made from weapon boxes and wash themselves from buckets.

Some Mariupol residents are also suffocating from smoke spreading from the Extreme Park. Mariupol’s City Council on Tuesday posted a video showing thick smoke covering the streets.

Around 2,500 Ukrainian troops who defended the city’s Azovstal steel plant and were subsequently captured by the Russians when they took over Mariupol are also suffering from hunger and constant abuse while in captivity, the New York Times reported Sunday, citing interviews with soldiers, civilians and top military officials.

Mariupol suffered from one of the biggest humanitarian disasters when the Russian army invaded Ukraine in February. Russian shelling has left most infrastructures in the city completely destroyed. The city has had no electricity, gas supply and water since March, according to Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko.

A view shows a residential building heavily damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 30, 2022.
A view shows a residential building heavily damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 30, 2022. Reuters / ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO
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