Confessions Of A Fierce Mariupol Resident Surviving Hell | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Confessions Of A Fierce Mariupol Resident Surviving Hell

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Igor’s son, who took refuge in Zaporizhia. He covered his cat and protected it from shell fragments (Image: courtesy of Ukrainian resident)“The hospital where we were evacuated had no anesthetics or antibiotics. Every day, wounded people were brought in one after another, and we had no choice but to amputate even the slightest wound. And without anesthesia. The first floor of the surgical ward was filled with bodies, which were piled up outside the building.”Igor, 59, a resident of Mariupol in the southeastern part of Ukraine, said, “Mariupol is a town in the Ukraine.”Mariupol is one of Ukraine’s hardest-hit areas, and Russian troops have been besieging the city since March. According to the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch, at least 3,000 civilians have lost their lives. Ukraine’s National SS “Azov Regiment” holed up in the Azov Stary steel mill and fought a thorough war. However, on May 20, the last 531 soldiers surrendered, and Russia declared complete control. The following is Igor’s confession of his desperate escape from the inferno of war.


“I have a wife, an 11-year-old son, and a 28-year-old daughter on maternity leave. My grandson was one year and four months old when the Russian invasion began in February. My daughter’s husband is a Ukrainian soldier in combat, so my daughter and grandson were with us. We lived near the Azovstal steel mill.”

“Initially, my family was evacuated to an underground shelter and only I remained in my apartment. As water, electricity, and gas were cut off soon after the war started, we collected snow and rainwater and filtered the water to secure drinking water. Meals were cooked on the balcony. It was dangerous to go outside because of the constant shelling, all the windows were broken, and shell fragments flew at us every day. Ukrainian officers came and advised me to evacuate my family to the Azovstal steel plant, but I did not want my windowless apartment to be ransacked by thieves. My family did not want to leave me alone, so I refused the officer’s recommendation.”

On March 11, a soldier from the Azov Regiment came to the apartment, and with a tense look on his face, he warned: 

‘Your room will become a position of the Azov Regiment. You must evacuate to a shelter immediately!’

‘We can’t breathe because of the fire.”

Igor’s apartment in ruins after being shelled by Russian troopsIgor evacuated to the basement with only his pet cat and his ID card. It was 30 minutes later that Russian tanks began attacking the apartment.“The shelter shook violently, the ceiling collapsed, and smoke filled the interior. Children were crying and adults were praying. Fire broke out and we couldn’t breathe. We decided to evacuate the shelter.” 

With hIs car destroyed and no means of transportation, Igor, holding hIs one-year-old grandson in his arms, ran out of his burning apartment into the street and ran hard toward another apartment, dousing himself in sparks of fire.

“Bullets came from the right and the left,” he said, “and they blocked my way. I ran to the nearest apartment and the residents opened the door and let me into the shelter, but it was small and full of people. We are in no condition to stay there very long.”

“A few days later we decided to head to the center of town. As we start to drive through the ruined city, an explosion occurs, and earth and sand start to rain down on us. We were almost at the Azovstal steel plant when the air raid started.”

A hospital shattered by Russian shelling
As they fled to a nearby hospital, doctors explained that they could not go any further. Igor and his family decided to stay at the hospital.“Soup was given once a day, and the adults bore down, but my grandson needed his own special diet. He needs milk powder and porridge. During the month we spent in the hospital, we were forced to procure necessities to save the lives of our family members. Water, in particular, is a precious resource. We drained cooling water for heating and used water for firefighting that was filled with garbage. Even sewage from puddles was filtered and converted into drinking water. Food was cooked in improvised fireplaces made from a collection of sidewalk bricks.”“The hospital was bombarded intermittently. One day, just as my family descended to the basement shelter while cooking, a 120mm mortar hit the fireplace. Two people nearby were killed instantly and one had one of his legs blown off. We carried him to the surgery wing and responded, but were unable to save him. He was bleeding profusely.” 

The hospital had no anesthetics or antibiotics. The wounded had to have the area amputated, even for the slightest scratch, and surgery was performed without anesthesia. The fighting continued to escalate.

“Even on the hospital grounds, there were clashes between Russian troops and the Azov regiment. We risked our lives to get food and water. At one point, we heard a radio call. We hear a voice ordering us to bombard the surgical ward with tanks and artillery and to create a transport corridor in the building. It was a Russian reconnaissance unit.”

“I knew that if they found out that I was listening to the radio, I would be shot or taken prisoner. I quickly pretended to look for doctors. I shouted out the names of the doctors. When the Russian soldiers heard my voice, they would order me to come slowly with my hands raised.”


Igor was physically examined and interrogated. Once the Russian soldiers confirmed that he had no weapons, they allowed him to go in search of diapers, water, powdered milk, and other necessities for the infant. 

“There is a sniper from the Azov regiment in the building across the street pointing his muzzle in my direction. The sniper opened fire on the Russian scouts. Luckily, I was unharmed. Soon the hospital was destroyed by gunfire, and the doctors, nurses, and patients who were operating on me were killed.”


In Part 2, we will continue with the story of Mariupol

residents’ desperate attempts to escape from the mines, where they were searched down to their underwear.

The apartment where Igor lived, the windows of which were blown out by the Russian army’s shelling.
A cat standing in the darkness of the shelter
Black smoke from everywhere in the city of Mariupolis after the Russian army attack
A hospital shattered by Russian shelling
  • Photo Courtesy of Ukrainian residents

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