Residents Who Escaped from Fierce Battlegrounds Confess: “The Reality of the Sorting Camps and Russian Barbarism” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Residents Who Escaped from Fierce Battlegrounds Confess: “The Reality of the Sorting Camps and Russian Barbarism”

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Mr. Valentin and his wife Anna, who agreed to be interviewed. They are currently living as evacuees in Georgia (image provided by the couple).

A shell exploded in the courtyard. (A young woman was killed instantly and two others were seriously injured. Both of them also died a few days later. …… Their bodies are buried in the yard. The rockets rained down on us every day, and all the houses in the city were burnt down,” said one of the victims, a young woman from the south of Ukraine.

The Russian military had been in Mariupol, a town in southeastern Ukraine, since 1945, when the city was attacked by the Russian army and the Russian army. Mariupol was the scene of the most intense fighting with Russian forces. According to Mayor Boychenko, more than 20,000 civilians were killed, and as many as 100,000 are still left behind.

The following is the confession of Mr. and Mrs. Valentin, who fled Mariupol for their lives.

When the Russian invasion began on February 24, we stayed in Mariupol, thinking that the military action would be over soon, based on our experience from the conflict in 2002. But the shelling did not stop, and bombs fell without pause. Neighboring houses were also hit by missiles, and firefighting efforts were prolonged. The residents were forced to live in underground shelters.

There is no electricity, water, heating, or gas underground. The only light was provided by LED lamps and car batteries, and since there were 10 people in a 12 square meter space (the size of seven tatami mats), they slept on the floor or on chairs due to the lack of space. We used rainwater and water stored in a firewater tank, and cooked our meals over an open fire in the courtyard.

The fighting only intensified. The shelling cut off their “way out. The bridge connecting the Valentins’ neighborhood to the city center was destroyed, making it impossible for them to travel to the relative safety of western Ukraine.

The air strikes wrecked my sons’ house and car,” he said. We felt we were in danger, but we could not go to the western part of the country because the bridge was gone. The only way out was to go to the east, which was already occupied by the Russians.

Interrogation at a “selective camp

The couple photographed the devastation in Mariupol.

In late March, Valentin and his wife, along with 10 other evacuees, including three children, boarded a luggage-carrying microbus and began their journey to the eastern part of the city. From the window of the bus, they saw a horrific scene.

My wife and I were sitting on the floor of the cargo hold. The roads are destroyed, so we drive on sidewalks and garden lawns. The roads were littered with burnt-out cars and countless bodies. ……”

The bus is stopped by Russian troops on the outskirts of Mariupol. The bus was stopped by Russian troops from the suburbs of Mariupol, the “Kadyrovtsy” unit led by President Kadyrov, who had been dispatched from the Chechen Republic.

The Russian soldiers were very arrogant,” said Kadyrovtsy. They checked our documents and led us to a checkpoint. They checked our belongings in detail, and the men were stripped naked.

The couple was then sent to a “selection camp. The Russian military would inspect the Ukrainian population for dangerous elements.

We spent seven days in the camps. We had nowhere to sleep, we spent the night in our cars, and many of us got sick from the cold. The Russian soldiers strictly warned us, ‘Do not deviate from the road. There were signs on the side of the road indicating land mines. We could not move freely and had to do our business right next to the car.

The interrogations in the camps were harsh. We were fingerprinted, photographed, and asked provocative questions about neo-Nazis, the government, and our homeland. If I didn’t give them bad information about Ukraine, they would look at me with a disgruntled look on their faces and yell, “What are you talking about? They would shout at me, ‘We’re going to take you to war. They even threatened to take me to the battlefield. After a long and painful sorting process, we were finally able to buy train tickets to Georgia (a country on the Black Sea coast, formerly Georgia) with the help of some acquaintances.

After a long flight, the Valentins escaped to Georgia through Russian territory. They are now living as refugees in Mariupol. Meanwhile, in Mariupol, the garrison declared a full-scale war against the Russian army. The fierce fighting, in which civilians are being killed, continues. When will peace return to the people of Ukraine?

The devastation in Mariupol as photographed by the couple (images have been modified).
The devastation in Mariupol as photographed by the couple
The devastation in Mariupol photographed by the couple
The devastation in Mariupol photographed by the couple
  • Photo Courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Valentin

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