As many as 200 rotting corpses were found in the basement of an apartment building in Mariupol when workers went digging through the rubble of the ruined city, according to Ukrainian authorities. It is not yet clear when the decomposing bodies were discovered.

Thousands have died in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol since the Russian invasion began in February while thousands of others are living with no basic amenities available to them.

Over three months into Russia's invasion of its neighbour, Vladimir Putin's troops have devastated cities like Mariupol with shelling, killing at least 21,000 people in the port city alone, per a report in The Independent.

The Russian airstrikes had hit a maternity hospital and a theatre during the early assault on Mariupol. According to an investigation by AFP, nearly 600 had been killed in those initial attacks.

Since Russia launched its invasion in February, Mariupol's destruction has become a symbol both of Ukraine's resistance and of Russia's willingness to destroy Ukrainian cities that hold out. Mariupol is currently under Russian control. At least 100,000 civilians are still trapped in the city without electricity, food and water.

The Ukrainian authorities have accused Russia of committing war crimes by targeting civilians and trying to cover up their tracks by bringing in mobile cremation equipment to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that the European continent has not seen such a war in 77 years. He has accused Putin of waging a "total war" against the country. Russia calls its invasion a "special military operation" to rid Ukraine of fascists, an assertion Kyiv and its Western allies say is a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war.

Russia continued to attack areas around Ukraine's second-largest city of Kharkiv yesterday. It has redirected its focus on taking control of the east and south of the country.

Meanwhile, billionaire investor George Soros has warned that Russia's invasion of Ukraine may be the beginning of the third world war. The veteran philanthropist made the comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos. "The invasion may have been the beginning of the third world war and our civilisation may not survive it," he said.

A heavily damaged apartment building in Mariupol: Reuters / ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO