They reached the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia on Thursday 79 and are still under Q control. Seventy-nine expulsions from Mariupol, city-sacrifice struck by Russian bombs. Nearly two faces were extinguished after nearly two months of siege.
Jumping from three yellow school buses, the passengers, many of them women, take the time to describe their journey and the hell they are leaving in the main reception center of Jaborzia – a large white tent set up in the parking lot of the hypermarket.
Like Anastasia (allowed name), its fixed vision testifies to trauma. “This exit was a show”, begins this 19-year-old woman, who describes how many Russian cameras filmed starters. ‘We were given some attention, but it was only to the media’.
He said rumors of a possible exit from Mariupol were circulating around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, while the opening of humanitarian corridors was announced not to be followed for several days. “Many people living in Russian-occupied territories want to leave, but they are prevented from doing so,” said Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vareshchuk in Zaporizhia.
Of the dozens of buses expected, only three arrived, she says angrily: “Nothing worked. (…) No ‘green’ corridor. In Mariupol, the meeting is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
Tanks and snipers
On the way there, Anastasia recalled hearing ‘Russian tank collided with a building’. He says he saw many Russian snipers on the roofs.
After nearly two months of incessant bombings, some candidates for deportation have yet to come forward. According to Ms. Verchuk, a total of seventy-nine people still live in the port city of 100,000.
“People don’t know if the rumor is true,” says Anastasia. “In front of Russian journalists, we were asked who wanted to go to Russia,” says another traveler, an elderly woman wearing a brown hat. ‘No one raised a hand. Let them die! ‘
More than 24 hours of travel
One of the four buses in Mariupol left for Russia, Anastasia says, without further ado. For the 79 people who arrived in Saporizia on Thursday, the journey began in more than 24 hours, typically taking three people to cover the 225-kilometer distance between the two cities.
‘We knew the way, but we could not identify any place. I do not know if we are going to come to Ukraine. At one point we thought they were taking us to Russia, ”Anastasia recalled. Inside the buses, ‘people were stranded’.
The pain finally ends in Zaporizhia. Some left in tears. Valentina Grindshowk, a 73-year-old woman in a black coat with sandals and holes, begins to hug and kiss everyone she meets.
‘From day one (from Mariupol headquarters, editorial note), we were in the basement (…) it was cold. We prayed to God. I asked her to protect us, “she says.
His apartment and his son’s house are now destroyed, he continues. She approaches a journalist who wants to interview her and takes her wrist and gently hugs her.
Natalia Cowell, 46, for her part, describes the first words from her building as a “fairy”, a young “gold and scroll” child, who said her first words during her two months in prison. “I never want to hear about explosions anymore,” says Tatiana Dorach, 34, who longs for a quiet night with her six-year-old son and “only a bed to sleep on.”
‘I hope he’s alive’
Anastasia, who lost her baby last November, is pregnant. The first soldier has not seen her husband since March 14. I have not been able to meet him since. Weeks later, when Russian soldiers were accused of atrocities, he said little or nothing.
His eyes seemed to stare in horror. When she talks about her husband, ‘I hope he’s alive.’
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