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Russian construction workers have started the complete dismantling of the Azovie neighborhood of Russian-occupied Mariupol, including unbroken houses, to build “elite” homes, according to Petro Andryshchenko, an advisor to the city's mayor.
“In spring, Moscow developers close to the federal government of Russia will begin construction of ‘elite economy'-class apartments under the Mariupol real estate mortgage program,” Andryshchenko said. He did not specify his exact source.
Russia's brutal two-month-long siege of Mariupol left the majority of the 450,000-strong city in Donetsk Oblast in ruins.
In the past several months, Russia has begun bulldozing Mariupol's ruined apartment buildings, criticized multiple human rights organizations perceive as an attempt to cover up war crimes; in some cases, the remains of those killed are understood to still be inside.
In December, Russia dismantled part of the Mariupol Drama Theatre, which was serving as a shelter for the city residents, when Russia dropped bombs on March 16, killing up to 600 people hiding there.
Speaking about the latest Russian demolitions, Andryshchenko said it would deprive many local residents of their homes.
The Anti-Corruption Foundation, led by jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, reported in December 2022 that Russian deputy defence minister Timur Ivanov could be profiting from construction in Mariupol. The ministry hired the same companies to build houses in destroyed Russian-controlled Mariupol and paid Ivanov’s bills for building materials for his private villa.