156 Mariupol residents who were able to leave Azovstal arrived in Zaporozhye. The evacuation convoy was expected here the day before, but because of the barriers that the Russians have, people managed to break out into the territory controlled by Ukraine only today.
They spent two months in bunkers, without electricity, under constant bombardment, and today a convoy of buses drove into a collection point where refugees are accepted, according to TSN .
60 days actually spent underground, because only there, in deep bunkers, it was possible to escape from rashist bombs. “The military helped us, they brought food. If they hadn’t brought us, we wouldn’t be there anymore,” say the survivors.
14-year-old Vova says that they survived underground only thanks to the Ukrainian military. They shared food, water and medicines. They helped with the generators so that the light bulb could be turned on. Azovstal in Mariupol turned out to be almost the only place where it was possible to hide from the devastating shelling of the Russians. The boy’s father stayed at the factory. “We sat there for about two months, I don’t remember, we arrived with my mother on the 6th or 7th. Dad took us there. He said it was the safest place so far. And finally, we sat without seeing the sun for two months. They sat only in the bunker. He is a military dad there,” the boy says.
Now Azovstal is being stormed by the Russian military. The civilians hiding there say: there are a huge number of dead and wounded. “To be honest, we just lost hope. We thought that everyone had forgotten about us and we would not get out of there. Many thanks to all our soldiers who remained there. Boys, we are with you. We are ready to do anything to get you out of there,” says evacuated Nadezhda.
Negotiations on the evacuation of civilians from the territory of the Azovstal plant were extremely difficult. As a result, 156 people were taken out of the factory onto buses. But there, under shelling, there are still hundreds of people with children.
“We were not able to get everyone out of the rubble, and we said that we needed another day or two to conduct a special operation. But now we are completing the first stage and immediately proceed to the second. We will not leave anyone who wants and can escape, we will give everyone a chance,” says Iryna Vereshchuk, Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine.
26 enemy checkpoints from Mariupol to Zaporozhye – the evacuation of refugees from Mariupol lasted more than three days. “You understand. There is a Russian side that dictates its terms! Of course, we can go out and say, but tomorrow we again need to agree at the state level on the dismissal of our people , ”explains the head of the Zaporizhzhya Regional Military Administration Oleksandr Starukh.
There were more than 50 buses in the convoy that left Mariupol. On the way back, several stops were to be made here: to pick up people who want to escape from the occupied villages and towns. But only four people arrived in Zaporozhye with people. Others were intended for refugees from Berdyansk, Tokmak and Vasilyevka. People there were supposed to get hooked into an empty transport, but the occupiers did not allow them to do so.
Those who managed to escape from hell are now trying to get used to the silence in the air. First, people are fed and given all the necessary things – from linen, shoes and diapers to dry mixes and children’s toys.
Today people should be resettled for the night. Further, most of them will go to the western borders, but some will remain. The terms of the next operation to rescue people from Azovstal will be discussed tomorrow.
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