Ukraine: The last civilians fled the Ukrainian steel plant


Bland and enthralled, the last civilians sheltering in bunkers beneath a sprawling steel mill in the decaying Ukrainian port city of Mariupol arrived in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine’s first major city, on Sunday night recently arrived at Zaporizhzhia, the first major city on the front lines.

Debris survivors talk about constant shelling, depleted food, pervasive mold – and using hand sanitizer as cooking fuel.

Ten buses slowly pulled into the deserted streets of Zaporizhzhia in the dark, carrying 174 people evacuated from the Mariupol area. They include more than 30 of the 51 civilians evacuated over the past day from the Azovstal steel plant, where an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters are working what appears to be their last stand. Both Ukrainian and Russian officials said the civilians were the last non-combatants from the industrial complex.

Lyubov Andropova, 69, has been in Azovstal since March 10. “It was terrible in the bunkers. lung. “

The shelling was ongoing, and there was fear “our bunker would collapse,” she said. “Things rocked, we didn’t hang out.”

The seaside steel mill is the only part of Mariupol that is not under Russian control. Thanks to tunnels and bunkers deep underground, many civilians chose it as the safest place to take refuge from the relentless shelling of the formerly prosperous port city, now largely destroyed.

Just a few days after the fighting began on February 24, Dmytro Sviydakov took shelter in a bunker with his wife and 12-year-old daughter. They entered Azovstal on February 27. It took more than two months before they could leave.

He said that having to gather in a bunker with about 50 to 60 people, the first month and a half was bearable, but then the shelling increased. A food storage area blew up, and he and others had to resort to scavenging, including searching workers’ lockers. Fuel for cooking was also scarce, but they later discovered that hand sanitizer – heavily stocked because of the coronavirus pandemic – was a good substitute.

“You can’t do anything when you have nothing!” he said, as he waited for a bus carrying the displaced Azovstals to temporary accommodation in Zaporizhzhia.

Yehor, a steel mill employee sheltering in the bunker who will only give his last name, was in the bunker with his two sons, his wife and their dog. He said that when the food ran out, the soldiers protecting Azovstal helped.

“Otherwise we wouldn’t have made it,” he said. “I don’t know how long we can survive, but we certainly wouldn’t have survived today.” For the past few days, they’ve only had pasta, water, and some condiments left – enough to make soup once a day.

His family entered the factory on March 1 for safety, he said, after he narrowly escaped death while walking his dog.

Although Mariupol was devastated on a large scale, some of the 51 people evacuated from Azovstal chose to remain in the city, with UN officials involved in ensuring safe passage for the evacuees. , said.

Two people – a man and a woman – were detained by Russian forces. The woman, detained on suspicion of being a military medic, was accompanied by her 4-year-old daughter. United Nations officials said the mother and daughter had been separated, and the girl had arrived in Zaporizhzhia with the rest of the evacuees.

However, hundreds of others who wanted to join the evacuation convoy from other areas held by Russian forces had to stay after Russia and Ukraine failed to reach an agreement on their evacuation.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Osnat Lubrani said: “It is heartbreaking to see them waiting and not being able to join us.

“Overall within 10 days we were able to get a total of 600 people involved in very complex, high risk, very sensitive safe movement activities,” said Lubrani, adding that the United Nations hopefully can bring in more civilians. out in the future.

Source link


News7h: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button