posted on 02/04/2022 06:00
(credit: Personal archive)
Olga Antsiferova, 20, defined with one word what she saw in Mariupol, a port city in southeastern Ukraine, besieged and bombed by Russian troops: hell. “Mariupol has been wiped off the face of the Earth. The streets are full of corpses and military equipment. There are no more houses, just scorched crumbling skeletons,” she told the post office the resident, who managed to escape last March 24. She and her mother stayed in the apartment, in the center of Mariupol, until the 17th day of the war. The bombings tore out the windows. “We slept in the hallway, in the midst of 5 degrees of cold. Since March 1, we have lived without light, water and heating. Bombs dropped from planes hit our house three times. The Russians deliberately attack civilians,” added the assistant. human resources in a logistics company.
On March 24, she, her mother and her aunt, carrying the two pet dogs and five bags, walked to the outskirts of Mariupol, at a predetermined location for the evacuation of civilians. “We walked through the bombing and sniper fire. We managed to reach our destination, where we split up. My mother got on a bus, while my aunt and I took a ride in a car. We stopped in Volodarsk, where we slept for two nights in a school, sitting on a chair. I was able to nap for half an hour one night”, Olga reported. After another stop in the village of Dmitrovka, they traveled for eight hours in the trunk of a van, before boarding a train to Lviv. The fiance, Alexey, wanted to stay in Mariupol taking care of his mother and grandmothers, aged 96 and 88. “Last Tuesday, I heard he’s alive.”
At least 100,000 civilians are struggling to survive in Mariupol, amid famine and bombing. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has suspended a rescue operation, scheduled for Friday (1/4). “We hope to be able to help more civilians leave Mariupol tomorrow (today),” ICRC spokesman Jason Straziuso told the report by email. According to him, 750 members of the Red Cross are mobilized to help with the evacuation.
However, on Friday night (1st), international news agencies reported that 2,000 civilians arrived in Zaporizhzhia, aboard 42 buses and cars, escorted by the Red Cross. The convoy was carrying civilians from Mariupol who were successful in reaching the Russian-occupied city of Berdiansk. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk confirmed the information in a video on Telegram. “Today, as we record this video, 42 buses are already on their way to take Mariupol residents to a safe place,” she said. “We know how much you hope to be saved. Each day we will try again until you have a chance to leave the city and, above all, live in peace.”