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]