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War diary: “Terrified of what He saw, God has left Mariupol, my neighbor said”

War diary: “Terrified of what He saw, God has left Mariupol, my neighbor said”
Article by: Nadiya Sukhorukova

This is the Mariupol diary by Nadiya Sukhorukova, a Mariupol TV journalist who documented her war experience in the besieged city. Mariupol was among the early targets of the Russian invasion, but as the Russian troops faced fierce resistance, they started obliterating the entire city of 430,000 inhabitants using heavy artillery, rockets, missiles, air bombs, and the navy armament. The humanitarian situation quickly deteriorated in the city which found itself under constant fire without water, food, and electricity.

Nadiia’s diary tells a story of the first two weeks of the Russian siege of Mariupol. She managed to get out of the city surrounded by the Russian troops, but many Mariupolites remain under shelling to this day. The death toll in the city remains unknown.

Currently, the Russian troops destroyed most of the buildings in Mariupol, captured significant parts of the city, and started forcible deportation of the locals to Russia. However, the surrounded Ukrainian forces keep holding the center of the city for almost two months now.

Mariupol diary: February 24

Anya is from Odesa, Alena from Kramatorsk, Natasha from Kharkiv, Halya’s from Irpin! We went to bed in a restless, but relatively peaceful life and the war woke us up.

No matter what dreams we had and what was happening a minute before we woke up. The main thing was an instantaneous transition in the twilight of the dawn from plans and hopes into the abyss of fear and despair. As if from a warm summer you fell into an icy cold.

When I still was asleep, I heard booms and explosions. It’s impossible to get used to this in eight years, but fear, like an old pain, dulled. And then my editor Halya sent a message to our general chat: “Guys, that’s it, wake up!”

It became clear that something terrible had begun around us. It was growing up reaching the sky. From there, like acid rain, blind iron death headed down. It was brought by the most vicious and vile runt – a dictator, a cynical and insane killer, and a maniac. Millions of people have already cursed him, and after them, like an echo, the curses will be repeated by ten times more people.

Finding yourselves inside a war is very scary. People become like children who got lost in the gloomy forest. A day ago, an adult woman wined like a child in a small village near Mariupol over her ruined house and her miraculous salvation. The one who fired this projectile at her is also a murderer. The fact that he doesn’t see his victim doesn’t change the matter.

In the morning, my brother’s wife was gathering my little nephews amid the shelling sounds. They were afraid and tried to act up. Children were sitting in the corridor on stools with their jackets and hats on holding huge packages in their hands. These were their “bug-out bags.”

At their feet lay the world’s friendliest dog, which was also very scared. All together they left their huge high-rise apartment block for the basement of a one-family house. It is safer during the shelling. They are afraid to return home.

We monitored the reports and rejoiced at every small victory of our soldiers. We were listening to the distant battle and mentally tried to help the best army in the world. Just and brave, strong and fair. We were sending them rays of hope, faith, and kindness.

Also, we talked in our general chat with each other. Every hour we had a roll call. As if in the dark by touch, we searched for our closest people: “Kharkiv, how are you? Odesa, Kramatorsk, Sievierodonetsk, Kherson, Mariupol? How are you doing?”

We were scared, we are afraid now, but we cope with this fear, flinging it far into space, into a black hole. In the same way, we will kick out the aggressive and vile invaders from our land. They don’t even know how strong we are.

Mariupol diary: February 25

Mariupol is invincible. Nothing and no one can defeat it. We’re not afraid of tanks, Grads, or shelling. We are extraordinary, amazing, surprising, and positive. We have so much courage and resilience that life itself protects us.

Imagine that: I’m scrolling down my timeline and there, of course, everything is very sad and sorrowful, nothing but gloom. Yes, this is understandable. Terrible things are happening in our country and in our city. But suddenly I come across a post that warms my soul and gives me confidence that everything will be fine:

“All five varieties of cucumbers sprouted. I will take care of them,” wrote Serhiy Holubkov from Mariupol on 25 February.
We will definitely win, spring will come, and cucumbers will grow, the ordinary green cucumbers smelling fresh and grassy. Because despite the war and all this horror, seedlings in tiny pots sprouted on the windowsill of a Mariupol citizen named Serhiy. And he really admires them and posted a photo of these beauties.

Mariupol diary: February 26

When we all survive this, I’ll definitely write about how scary it is to live inside the war, about different people and situations, how everything changes in an instant, and how unimportant things get reduced to microscopic sizes.

The important things remain. And it turns out that there’re not so many of them. This is your life, the lives of loved ones, friends, of the people who are near you. And you need your house to be intact, your city not shelled with Grads, your country not tormented and tortured.

It turns out that you can have no long-term plans. And you only need to live today. Thinking about tomorrow is a huge luxury. And everything is wonderful not when you have a luxury smartphone or went to a cool resort or bought a new apartment. It turns out that none of that matters. The same about your fortune, being praised at work, and the number of likes on FB.

Probably we should have guessed it earlier. And we had to just live enjoying every day and every second, just silence and security. But I always needed something, all the time something wasn’t good enough, I didn’t like something. I wanted more. I wanted perfect happiness. It turns out I had it. Just a few days ago.

We are strong. We will withstand. Because of the vile tyrant, we’ve become even stronger. We have united. To win. I know how beautiful Lviv resident Yulia is worried about Mariupol and Mariupolites, how Natasha from Dnipro keeps her fingers crossed for us, how I read reports on Kyiv rejoicing at every victory of our army.

Surprisingly, our TV channels have united – we are not competitors, we are fighters of the same army. Amazingly, there’s no ideology other than the ideology of devotion to Ukraine and expecting victory. And time stretched a million times. It seems that all this didn’t start on 24 February, but insanely long ago. Although, for us – it really started a long time ago.

I have more to write and talk about. I really want a really good morning tomorrow. For all of us and for Ukraine.

Besieged Mariupol: How Russia obliterated a nearly half-million city in one month (photos)

Mariupol diary: February 27

When you’re scared, you have to do something. That’s what my friend, a psychotherapist, says. During the air raid, she washes the floors in the stairwell. She did it three times for now. Now there are “sterile” floors, and she overcame her fear.

I write during the shelling. Some nonsense. Because nothing comes to mind and it turns out rubbish. I’m scared, I count explosions while listening to the rumbling, and I am writing. In between, I look at my cat and dog. They solve problems with fear radically.

Angie (the dog, – Ed.) drops to the floor and falls asleep, while the cat lies on his back and just listens. On his face, it is written: “Russian bombs go f*ck yourself.” I think my cat is a real patriot. He will tear any invader.

Many thanks to everyone who announces the air raid alerts. Now we clearly know when we should go to the common corridor. And we calmly take chairs out there, taking the dog out and catching the guerilla cat. This red bastard distracted me from a panic attack twice today.

The first time I tried to hold him in my arms. He hissed at me and wanted to scratch my face with his paw. The second time was when during the explosions he ran away from me across the beds, hid under the table, and yelled like crazy. Saving my cat’s life, I desperately pulled his tail from under the sofa to push him into the safe common corridor.

Joseph the cat went berserk from such treatment and now he treats me as if I were crazy. He walks sideways, twitches his tail, looks at me from a further corner, and when I approach, he jumps on all fours and runs away with a roar of a lion.
Joseph the cat by Mariupol journalist Nadiia Sukhorukova. Source

We have no shelter in the house, and those available are very far away. We just can’t get there. Therefore, during the shelling, the common corridor turns into Noah’s Ark. Those sitting out the terrible time together with people are a cat, two dogs, a guinea pig – a local favorite – and an impudent hamster. The latter’s look makes our cat and dog nervous.

There is absolute unity in the corridor, even among those neighbors who couldn’t stand each other before. One hundred percent mutual understanding among those who were indignant that animals poop on the street. Now they don’t care. Our Ukrainian cats and dogs are just perfect.

The vile dwarf (Putin, – Ed.) managed to unite everyone. He achieved amazing results in just four days. People felt like an absolutely united nation. Thanks to him for this. And regarding everything else, “Russian freak, go f*ck yourself.” And everything will be Ukraine!

Mariupol diary: March 1

Guys, we have no electricity, there are communication interruptions, no reception of Kyivstar (mobile operator, – Ed.) whatsoever, the battery on the phone is running out. The shelling doesn’t stop.

I’m already sick and tired of the lousy invaders. What obsessive creatures they are. Every city says them to go f*ck themselves. They were said that already several times yet they still creep here like cockroaches.

Mariupol is wonderful! Because it’s strong and brave. The best warriors in the world fight for it.

And in the city under fire, ordinary people – the utility workers – eliminate what the Russian invaders are destroying and smashing. Our utility workers are just working. Because this city needs to survive.

I hate this Russian d*ckhead (Putin, – Ed.). I didn’t know that I could hate someone so much. These creatures don’t live themselves and don’t let others live. I hope that our common human curse will be heard by the Universe and it will fall like an avalanche on the heads of these freaks. And yes, let Putin die. This is my cherished dream. If you really want it, then it will definitely come true. And I want it so badly. I suggest that everyone desire this.

And here’s something positive. We walked the dog under shelling and took a picture of my mother’s snowdrops in the yard. The spring is here. Enjoy, my darlings! Everything will be Ukraine!

Photo by Mariupol journalist Nadiia Sukhorukova. Source

Mariupol diary: March 2

Under shelling, it is somehow not very easy to establish life. You listen to every sound and divide them into joyful and scary.

For example, previously I was very angry when the neighbors from above were dancing and singing the songs of the world’s peoples after eleven at night. Now I love every step they take over our heads. They trample like medium-sized ponies.

But I’m not angry, on the contrary, this makes me happy. They are my beloved neighbors. They didn’t leave our dear Mariupol, they are here with me, it’s not easy for them, but they are strong and real. And let them play as much as they want. Let them move their furniture around the clock. The main thing is that everything is fine with them.

And the sounds of the voices of the loved ones that you hear on the phone. It’s so important to ask, “How are you?” One of my friends always answers, “Just like the whole city.” She assures, “Don’t worry,” and reports that she’s now in the corridor waiting for the shelling. I feel calmer because I am also in the corridor and we seem to be together.

I try to walk the dog before curfew and between shellings. True, it is never possible to take a walk in the calm. While we go down from our fifth floor, without an elevator, it starts to boom terribly. I’ve almost forgotten. I always cross myself before going out. Because I’m a little scared.

Angie and I fly to our favorite glade amid the awful sounds. You can’t mistake them for anything else. The impression is that they are hitting an iron roof with a huge hammer, or, if GRADs (rockets, – Ed.) are flying, then the feeling is that a huge killer train is approaching shaking the earth, and the blood runs cold in the veins.

mariupol diary
Angie the dog by Mariupol journalist Nadiia Sukhorukova. Source

Angie and I know what’s going on. My beloved city is being killed by the damned Russian invaders. We hate them and wish them dead. I don’t know how to explain to the dog why the hell they came to us. And why they are killing our Ukrainian people.

Angie guesses that the sounds we hear while walking are the sounds of death. So he does his things quickly. My job is then to collect the poop and throw it in the trash. War is not a reason to pollute my city. It’s already getting dirty with the shells by the vile bastards from the neighboring country.

I also love the sounds of rain and the sounds of hope. This is when someone brings good news. “Our guys destroyed a whole column of tanks, you know? They shot down the plane that had bombed Sartana four times.”

Also, there are the sounds of confidence that we will win. When every city shouts to the killers that they are freaks and that the cities they came to are Ukrainian cities. Nobody invited them here. They aren’t needed here. And then people tried to stop the tanks with their bare hands and don’t let the APC column into their village.

Yes, it’s hard and scary for us, but it’s even harder for the orcs (Russians, – Ed.). Their heads are under such hatred, such curses that it can kill them without weapons and shells. Why did you piss us off, half-baked kamikazes?

Mariupol diary: More of March 2

I want to sleep all the time. Constantly. As if a sleepy little elephant has possessed me. I nod even during terrible shelling. I sit so very calmly counting the ka-booms.

This is probably how my body reacts to danger. It freezes. I do everything “on autopilot.” I command the dog, grab the cat and run into the corridor. The cat has already accepted his fate of being captured and carried out into the corridor. Yosya (diminutive for Joseph, – Ed.) doesn’t even resist. Only meows indignantly, but doesn’t escape as before.

Also, I don’t want to eat. Absolutely. Can’t force me. When I tried to lose weight on a diet, it was a hell of a job. Nothing worked. I saw food in my dreams. The body required a snack every hour.

Now, with a great effort, I can cram something into my mouth. Only to have some strength. And for some reason, I don’t feel like drinking either. I turned into a camel. Like a ship of the desert, I move slowly, I chew some kind of thorn for a long time and rarely drink. I think my internal fat reserves have been at work now.

“I’m sure I’ll die soon. It’s a matter of days” – resident of besieged Mariupol

I met my little nephews today. They came from a nearby house, which is safer than my mother’s nine-story building because there’s a shelter there. It was only when I saw these kids that I realized how much I missed them.

Cheerful Kyrylo screams and runs around as if nothing had happened. When shelling, he goes straight to a safe place with a blanket and pillow. The kids already know how they should act better than me.

Varya is very worried about the lessons. Her teacher sends assignments, but she doesn’t have everything done yet. We have to interrupt and go down to the basement. She is reading a book about some blogger girl. She’s has already read 18 pages and over 200 are to go. Because of the shelling, the lights often go down so Varya has to use a flashlight.

Today the children slept in the basement. It is very cold and dark there. But on the other hand, it’s almost inaudible here how Mariupol has been rained down with Grads and Smerches (types of Russian multiple rocket launchers, – Ed.).

I can’t figure out with whom these ugly ones are fighting? With children, with women, with newborns, with doctors, with patients? Why are these goblins hitting schools, kindergartens, hospitals, maternity hospitals? They are child killers and terrorists.

Russian fools, our children are dying, their parents want to get to you in order to strangle you with their bare hands. What have you forgotten in our land? Probably your own death.

I dream that these cruel attacks will stop, and my beautiful city will wake up from this terrible dream. But my most cherished desire is one. I repeat it every day like a mantra #putinsdierightnow.

Mariupol diary: Another entry from March 2

It’s very scary when you can’t get in touch with your relatives. War disables it. I am in Mariupol. Kyivstar has been down since morning. They fired from weapons of various calibers, mostly the large ones. Those in other cities go crazy fearing for their loved ones. Relatives cannot explain to them that this is due to interruptions in communication.

I have a phone with two SIM cards, one is still working. The power supply is interrupted, there is no water, no heating either. Dead silence in Mariupol. The city seemed to be in shambles. Raindrops are knocking on the window sill.

I don’t want to think about bad things. Everything will definitely be fine. For us. for Mariupol. For Ukraine. And you know what’s interesting? Now, when it’s scary and hard, I am writing. So, it turns out writing is my thing? I’m sorry I didn’t realize this earlier. So much time wasted. I promise, that if the morning is good, I will devote my life to this occupation. One hundred percent. I hope there will be morning and there will be books.

I’d like to say that now I started perceiving jokes and empty talk badly. I want to stay silent and listen to my thoughts. Those are frightened, like a little girl lost in a dark labyrinth who can’t find a way out.

I think we already had such a night or a similar one. Without lights, communication. And with silence. Then it became easier for us because the lights were turned on in some neighborhood in ​​the city, we found out about it and exhaled.

mariupol diary: Basement in Mariupol turned into a bomb shelter. Photo by Mariupol journalist Nadiia Sukhorukova
The basement in Mariupol turned into a bomb shelter. Photo by Mariupol journalist Nadiia Sukhorukova. 2 March 2022. Source

The most difficult thing now is the lack of information and communication, as if our voices and posts can really help.

Seven or eight days of war changed our lives entirely. Life now goes according to the laws of war. And every day is like a year. I can’t believe that it used to be otherwise.

We must look into the morning. Pray for us and believe that our morning will be good. The darkest hours are usually before dawn.

Mariupol diary: March 18

My neighbor woman says that God has left Mariupol. He was afraid of everything he saw. She said this a week ago, and the day before yesterday, just before our departure, she ran into our basement compartment with a message that the house was on fire, the second next to ours.

“He has some strange orange flames,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. Pray girls”

We didn’t know then that in half an hour we’d leave this city and this reality. We sat and prayed. I was reciting “Our Father” and for some reason, I forgot its words. My husband had taught me this prayer. I haven’t seen him since the start of the war. I am guilty before him. Because I went to visit my mother, and then couldn’t come back to him. I really want to hear his voice. I want another little chance. To say the most important words, which I for some reason didn’t utter while the mobile communication was still working.

Man in a Mariupol bomb shelter. Photo by Mariupol journalist Nadiia Sukhorukova. Source

Every day in Mariupol we waited for things to improve. We believed that the war was about to end and everything would be the same as before. Just a week ago, we were still going out to the streets. Once, between the bombings, we went to the Red Cross at Torhova. My friend’s daughter recently gave birth to a son. They named him Mykyta and he was living in a basement. We hardly took him outside because of the bombings, and the week-old child didn’t see the sun at all.

For his sake, we drove in a friend’s car marked “Children.” This inscription didn’t protect against anything. On the way, we met the same car, with the same inscription, only broken and burned down. It was hit by a shell. The ride was very scary. But some of the houses were still intact. The maternity hospital had not yet been ruined, my colleague’s husband hadn’t died, and our area had lonely passers-by walking through the streets.

Our destination street didn’t exist anymore. There were ruins. Instead of a large store, there was a huge pit. Down from there, not a single house was intact. I didn’t recognize this part of the city. The people who were removing the rubble said that an aerial bomb was dropped here the day before.

The guys from the Red Cross were removing the broken glasses. The girl was surprisingly calm and to my question “How are you?” responded, “Everything’s fine” and smiled. It was so weird. We haven’t smiled for many days.

There was no infant formula, no diapers. We were told that those were transferred to the hospital’s maternity department. We decided to get there tomorrow. A friend’s daughter told us that the department head there was an amazing person. He and his doctors and nurses stayed there around the clock and didn’t go home. Firstly, it was too dangerous to walk, and secondly, they had no replacement. And women were giving birth. With no electricity or water, in a cold delivery room, and under bombs. When the department ran out of food, the doctors began to give their supplies to the women in labor. Everything they had. The head physician used to bring sandwiches made of cheese and sausage. There was no bread. It was simply nowhere to buy. There was absolutely nothing to buy. At first, the shops were closed, then they began to be looted.

There were no pharmacies. They were also plundered. My heart pills were running low and a harsh alternative loomed ahead, of death from a shell or from cardiac arrest. I didn’t really like both options. An unfamiliar woman helped me, our friends’ neighbor. I believe her name is Lena. She gave away some of her medicines. For free.

Nadiia's diary tells a story of the first two weeks of the Russian siege of Mariupol from the perspective of a civilian. She managed to get out of the city surrounded by the Russian troops, but many Mariupolites remain under shelling to this day. The death toll in the city remains unknown. mariupol diary
An infant’s bad a Mariupol bomb shelter. Photo by Mariupol journalist Nadiia Sukhorukova. Source

When people ran out of water it started to snow and then to rain. Mom said, “Nature helps us.” At the time our end wasn’t under that intensive shelling, and two types of neighbors gathered near the entrances of the houses. The first category was cooking food on a fire, the second was standing with buckets under the drain pipes.

We were still talking to each other back then. And I found out that water from the city’s water provider has been brought to the corner of one of the streets every day. An ordinary Mariupol resident carries it in a huge barrel on his own initiative. He comes every day and then stands under fire filling people’s bottles with free drinking water. People periodically run away from there when the shelling gets hard and becomes dangerous, they quarrel with each other for a place in the queue, and the water carrier silently fills their vessels.

I don’t know the name of this man and I hope he’ll get out of this hell alive. Because I really want him to read these lines and hear me thanking him, which I didn’t have time to do then.

Mariupol diary: March 19

If we hadn’t left this morning, we wouldn’t be alive. Me, at least, for sure. There were fewer people in our basement. They were leaving. There were rumors that many were breaking out from these circles of hell. But these were only rumors. Nobody could check them. Our basement neighbors were disappearing one by one, as soon as they were managing to find gasoline or friends who had a car. Nobody would say goodbye, nobody would pack things. They were just leaving everything behind and running to the exit.

By that night, more than half of the basement’s compartments were empty. Our neighbors were also about to leave. The bombing stopped them. Planes flew every half an hour. I think there were several of them. Because previously they were dropping two bombs. And now the ground was shuddering four or sometimes six times in five minutes. They were bombing us with all their might, as if they wanted to bury every house, every tree in the ground, trample every soul into a huge crater.

We didn’t sleep for several days. Our state could rather be called being half asleep. Day and night time merged into one, our eyes were constantly sticking together, but the bodies were on the alert. According to the theory of probability, they should have hit our house soon. They have already battered all the high-rise buildings around us. Some of them half-ruined.

I didn’t know if there were people in the basements. And if they were there, how do they feel? I felt almost nothing. I felt like there really was nothing. That I was having a hellish nightmare. I needed to wake up. Soon I would open my eyes in my bed and go to wash my face and drink tea.

I was inside when the Russians bombed Mariupol drama theater: survivor’s story

And then a giant thundered with iron. He walked again on my land. This sound before the start of the shelling drove me crazy. The impression was that they were moving something metal, huge, and terrible. What could it be?

I was petrified. I was afraid to move. I’d sit on a chair staring numbly at the concrete floor with broken plaster and thinking that it was there to stay forever. I didn’t care. I wanted this to end quickly. There was no toilet in the basement. Everyone went to their own apartment. I had to go up to the fifth floor. I couldn’t make myself move. I had to get out of the basement to get into the entrance. I no longer had the courage to do so.

My little nephews were lying on other people’s mattresses, covered with blankets from different compartments, wearing jackets, hats, scarves, and shoes. There was a family of Azerbaijanis here before us. They have 11 children. They left the city a week ago. They, people said so, have reached a safe place. This news came from another basement when our compartment neighbor ventured out into the street to warm some water on the fire. Then there was a short pause. They didn’t bomb us for fifteen minutes.

The ground was buckling, the house was trembling, and someone in the basement was screaming in fear. I feared even to imagine what was going on there outside. It seemed to me that the house stood in a center, and shells were exploding around. Everything was in craters and fragments. When in the morning I saw what was left of our yard, I didn’t have a single emotion. I just stood and watched. This was not my city.

According to volunteers, from 20,000 to 40,000 people left the city. Now about 300,000 inhabitants remain in Mariupol. They keep getting killed. Please, tell the whole world about this. People want to live.

Martyred city of Mariupol wiped out of existence by Russia’s incessant shelling

Mariupol diary: March 20

Do you know how scary it is to leave people now even for a few minutes? I keep telling myself that I’m not in hell anymore, but I keep hearing planes roar, startle at any loud sound, and pull my head into my shoulders. I’m scared when someone leaves. There, in hell, not everyone who left returned. A lot of people were gathering in the house of our acquaintances. Many were getting there between shellings to tell what they saw in other streets.

Fragile girl Anya from the fifteen-story building would come every day. Her parents lived near the school on Kirov street and she was very worried about them. She couldn’t bring them here. For them, the two-bus-stops-long distance was insurmountable. Her apartment is right under the rooftop. The planes that bombed the city seemed to be circling just above her attic.

Every day, Anya visited her parents under shelling. Mortar mines would whistle around and hit next to her. She’d fall down covering her head with her hands. It scared her a lot. Her path wasn’t very long for peacetime, but during the bombing, it was almost impassable. Anna walked down that path twice a day, there and back, and saw how everything was changing. Intact just yesterday, entire houses were turning into ruins overnight. They stood pierced through with their black eye sockets of burned-out windows.

I believed she was a hero. She used to visit her parents and return to the house on Osypenka to exhale before returning to her apartment. She’d drink water, and stand in the doorway being silent. Sometimes she had precious diapers or cream for week-old Mykyta. The baby lived in the basement of this house after his birth. He looked like a yellow chicken. He needed the sunlight sorely.

Anya changed every day, just like the city. She was becoming more and more “see-through”, and dark circles around her eyes were becoming larger and larger. Anna didn’t eat anything. She said, “I can’t force myself, I can’t swallow anything.” She didn’t talk about the things she saw on her trips. There were many children with us and Anya didn’t want to scare anyone.

When they began to shell our area non-stop, she walked to he parents every few days. I thought that she was so fragile and transparent that the fragments simply couldn’t hit her. After the shell hit the house of our acquaintances and we moved to another basement, we never saw her again. She’s now in Mariupol. She has no car but has old parents and several cats there.

On 11 March, my friend’s husband died. The day before, they came to us and were dreaming to get together after the war. Vitya, my friend’s husband, a God-gifted cameraman but a silent man, this time firmly promised that we’d definitely meet after our victory. And then he didn’t keep his word.

A day later, when everything was rattling and clattering, as if a giant glass was being cut with an iron saw, an airplane hummed nearby, the children were in the basement as the adults lay on a long sofa covering their heads with pillows. I also closed my eyes, I still don’t understand why. I thought a pillow would save me from a bomb. At that moment, 13-year-old Sasha ran into the house shouting, “I’m Sasha! It just hit our house. It’s screwed.” We asked, “Where is mom, is everyone alive?” He replied that everyone is, but dad was under the rubble and mom was digging him out.

Then it turned out that dad was covered in the rubble forever. The best camera operator, a very bright person, a loving dad, and husband, calm and kind, lay with a broken head and an unnaturally bent leg in his own apartment on the ninth floor. It was impossible to bury him, or to get him out. A few days later, the entire stairwell of apartments including Vitya, burned down. The house had a direct hit again.

There, in Mariupol, many things were not important. We were eating from the same plate so as not to waste water on washing dishes, sleeping on mattresses altogether, it was warmer that way, wearing hats, and rushing to everyone we met to find out the news from the neighboring yard. We forgot that shops existed, that you could turn on the TV, chat on social media, take a shower, or go to sleep in a real bed.

Today it became known that less than 40,000 people left the city during the entire blockade. There are still hundreds of thousands of people in hell. Every day it becomes more and more difficult for them to survive. Please help them. Tell the truth about my city.

“They talked to us like we were criminals” – how Russian occupiers deported me from Mariupol

In late March, Mayor of Mariupol Vadym Boychenko reported that according to preliminary estimates, 5,000 people died in Mariupol during the month of the siege, of which about 210 were children. However, it has been impossible to count all the victims became many of them remain buried under the rubble.

Since Nadiia’s 20 March entry, dozens of thousands of Mariupolites managed to evacuate from their city to the safety of Ukraine-controlled Zaporizhzhia. Meanwhile, a week ago an estimated 20-30 thousand Mariupol residents were forcibly deported to Russia by the Russian troops, and the deportation continues to this day.

According to the Mariupol City Council, more than 90% of the city’s infrastructure has been destroyed and at least 40% of that is beyond repair.

Meanwhile, Russian started to destroy the corpses of their victims in Mariupol to hide scale of their crimes, according to Mariupol authorities:

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