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.