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Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boitshenko told the BBC that the fighting had now reached the center of Mariupol, confirming reports that had come earlier from the Russian side.
The Russian Defense Ministry had said that its forces were “tightening the noose” around the city and that “battles with the nationalists” were taking place in the city center.
Everyone is in the shelters. It is no longer the center of the city. “There is not a small piece of land in the city that does not show signs of war,” said Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boichenko, speaking to the BBC's Lviv correspondent Hugo Bakega.
The people of Mariupol describe the horrific face of the war
People who were forced to flee the besieged city of Mariupol, describe images with corpses lying in the streets for days. Hunger, thirst, bitter cold the nights spent in cellars with temperatures below zero.
In the wake of the incessant pounding of Russian forces' bombardment of this strategic port in southeastern Ukraine, residents now in Zaporizhia, about 250 kilometers northeast, told AFP that they had been able to escape after they had to drink water. cook leftovers using wood for food due to lack of drinking water and food supplies.
“It is no longer Mariupol, it is hell,” said Tamara Kavunenko, 58. The Russians “fired so many rockets,” he added, “that the streets are full of civilian corpses.” “When it was snowing, we would collect snow and melt it for water. “When it was not snowing, we boiled water from the river to drink it.” According to Kyiv, more than 2,000 people have lost their lives so far in Mariupol.
The city is of strategic importance to the extent that its occupation would allow Russia to make the connection between its troops in Crimea and those in Donbass, while blocking Ukrainian access to the Sea of Azov.
Yesterday On Thursday, Ukraine accused Moscow of bombing a theater in the city, where hundreds of residents had taken refuge. Local authorities said Russian forces bombed the theater without heeding the warning written on the ground in huge letters in front of and behind the building: “Diéti” (“Children” in Russian).
Smell of death
In a message to the Telegram, Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boichenko said about 6,500 vehicles could leave the city on Wednesday night through Thursday. In Zaporizhia, a Soviet-era building Red Cross volunteers wait for displaced children next to stacks of children's shoes and blankets.
With long fingernails and dirty hands, Dima told Agence France-Presse that he had two weeks to wash and was forced to steal food from stores for his children and grandparents.
“We stayed underground even when it was -4 “It was a good temperature,” he said, raising his leg to show that he was wearing three pants to withstand the cold. “The smell is strong in the atmosphere and no one wanted their children to feel it.”
Dima says he managed to leave Mariupol on the third attempt and arrived in Zaporizhia on Tuesday with his wife and two young children.
Daria remembers staying in the basement of the building with her baby, a daughter, for ten days.
“Exhausted, sick, crying & # 8230;”
“Day by day the “The situation was getting worse,” he says. “We were without light, without water, without gas, without any means of survival. It was impossible to buy anything, anywhere. “
Marina, a Red Cross volunteer, sees the great anguish of the survivors. “They are exhausted, sick, crying,” he said. In Zaporizhia, they are offered shelter and the opportunity to take a shower. “We take care of them”, adds Marina, “we provide them with everything”.
The only way to leave Mariupol is by car. “We saw people with white ribbons in their vehicle leaving,” testified a woman, Daria, who said she joined them after asking a neighbor to come with them.
For some, the journey from Zaporizhia, which usually takes three or four hours, took a day and a half. and that they found a safe route by accident, without being able to get help over the phone or the internet.
Shots from the bombed shopping mall of Mariupol
< p>Shots of a “punch in the stomach” from the bombed shopping center of Mariupol are published, which depict the completely destroyed shopping center of the city that was bombed by the Russian forces. The authenticity of the plans has been confirmed by Sky News.
Social media footage shows a shopping center and swimming pool in Mariupol , which are now completely unrecognizable. Sky News has independently verified these videos.
Latest on the war in Ukraine: https://t.co/DkSDDEJutp pic.twitter.com/aGvimFrT7F
– Sky News (@SkyNews) March 18, 2022
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