The Fierce Battle of Mariupol: The Miraculous Escape of a Couple who were Gravely Wounded by Bombs | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Fierce Battle of Mariupol: The Miraculous Escape of a Couple who were Gravely Wounded by Bombs

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Tatiana and her husband were seriously injured in Mariupol (image courtesy of Tatiana).

Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine, was the scene of the most intense fighting during the Russian military invasion. According to the International Human Rights Organization Human Rights Watch, at least 3,000 civilians lost their lives. A school teacher and his wife, though severely wounded, miraculously survived the intense battlefield. Mrs. Tatiana, 57, an English teacher, recalls the unimaginable reality of Ukraine. The following are the first and second parts of the story.


–Why did you stay in Mariupol?

We were living near the Azovstari Ironworks. On February 29, feeling unsafe at home, we drove to a friend’s house in another part of the city to take shelter there amidst the gunfire.

However, the shells were raining down on us. We were rushed to the hospital. I had a broken elbow, some of my muscles were torn, nerves were damaged, and I lost the use of my fingers. My husband’s jaw was shattered. My leg was also injured. Thus, we were forced to remain in Mariupol until March 31, when the hospital would no longer function.

Why was Tatiana not admitted to the hospital room?

The school where Tatiana was worked was charred by Russian shelling.

–What was life like in the hospital?

There is a large window in the hospital room. Patients were housed in the corridors, not in their rooms, because of the danger of glass shattering from the impact of shells. The area was heavily shelled, the building shook with each explosion, glass and doors blew out, and people cried out in terror. It was very scary.

Injured people were constantly being brought in, and doctors were doing their best to operate and provide relief. They are the true unsung heroes who stayed at the hospital for over a month and worked hard to save lives. I pray that they escaped from hell and are still alive today.


–So you felt you were in danger even though you were in the hospital?

The tremors of the military planes flying overhead and the explosions that followed were very frightening. From my window, I could see the burning high-rise apartments. The injured were brought in from the area of the explosion, many of them without arms or legs. An obstetrics and gynecology hospital in the center of town was also bombed. Pregnant women and women with babies were brought in from there. Some of the injured women unfortunately did not survive.

The hospital had almost all the windows broken and the corridors were very cold. There were no lights and the generator only supplied power to the operating rooms. They also ran out of food. Hospital staff were searching for food from broken warehouses and other places to at least make soup for the patients.

The fourth floor of the shelled hospital

–Please tell us the story of the occupation of the hospital by Russian fighters.

On March 11, Russian soldiers entered the hospital to search for wounded Ukrainian soldiers. Then, this time, troops from the Donetsk People’s Republic (in the Russian-occupied eastern part of Ukraine) came. Only the commander of the unit was an Ossetian of Caucasian descent. The soldiers were on every floor, declaring, ‘We will defend this hospital!’ but they watched us at all hours and restricted our movement.

If anyone moved, they would ask, ‘Where are you going?” they would ask. They said, ‘The Chechens will be here soon, and they will be looking for fighters of the (elite Ukrainian) Azov regiment. In Mariupol, there were (Azov) snipers everywhere. I tried as much as possible not to talk to fighters of the Donetsk People’s Republic.


–And it was only two days later that the unexpected happened?

Yes. Yes. All those who could walk were evacuated to underground shelters, and patients who could not walk were brought in later. From then on, we stayed in the basement shelter until March 30.


-The situation was dire.

Tanks surrounded the hospital and were shooting at apartment buildings. The apartments burned and collapsed, and survivors with children and animals fled to the hospital basement. The basement was full of people, sitting or lying on the very cold ground.

Tatiana and her husband were trapped in the basement. The story of their survival from the darkness of hell will be introduced in [Part 2: The Miraculous True Story of a Dying Couple’s Survival]

Inside the shattered apartment where Mr. and Mrs. Tatiana lived.
  • Image Courtesy of Tatiana

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