Around 300,000 civilians have been pinned by fighting for days in the strategic port of Mariupol in the south-east of the country on the Sea of Azov, without water, food and electricity and where humanitarian aid has not been possible.
To escape the almost constant bombardment, the residents of Mariupol flee into the basement. In this dying city, theft of basic necessities has become a daily practice. Grocery, clothing or furniture theft… It’s so common that locals call the practice “getting a discount,” reports Metro UK. Without running water, the dwellers have only one way to stay hydrated: collect snow and melt it to turn it into drinking water.
“We have no electricity, we have no food, we have no medicine. We have nothing,” Ludmila Amelkina told the British daily. With no electricity or phone service, many Ukrainians only use their car radios to get information. The only channels they receive come from areas controlled by Russian forces or separatists.
Dead bodies lie on the ground in the streets of the city. If the number of victims could not be confirmed for the time being, local authorities have already planned to dig mass graves to bury their dead.
Several evacuation attempts have failed in Mariupol over the past few days, with both sides blaming each other.
This Wednesday morning, Russians and Ukrainians agreed to set up a series of humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from besieged cities. A corridor in the direction of Zaporozhe is planned in the city of Mariupol. However, according to the Ukrainian authorities, the Russians are still preventing evacuation via the agreed corridor. “Mariupol remains under siege. The Russians again prevented residents from leaving the city and humanitarian aid from reaching the city,” Donetsk Region Governor Pavlo Kirilenko said on Facebook.
The capture of this strategically important city would allow the passage between the Russian forces coming from the Crimea, now threatening Mykolaiv further west, and the Separatist and Russian forces in the Donbass (east).