Oleksandr and Larisa left behind Mariupol, the martyred city in which only one lives.
Oleksandr and Larisa decided to leave Mariupol on the day the woman’s mother died at the age of 97 from natural causes. “She saved my life a second time. She let me close my eyes and said she had never thought of dying under these circumstances,” her daughter says. “I had just closed my eyes,” Larissa explains, remembering that moments later, the building they were living in had been bombed.
“Thick black smoke started to enter, we took a step towards the flames. We left the fourth floor, neither alive nor dead.” The escape left burns on the hands of husband Oleksandr. After about three weeks, they are still wrapped in bandages, but the fingertips are still black.
“Then, we stood in front of the building watching our apartment already on fire.” The next day, some friends went home. “The walls were still hot and black, there was half a meter of ash, no trace of my mother, no trace of anything. Everything burned,” says Larisa. The man, a retired journalist, laments the loss of thousands of hard-earned books over several years: “We had a very large library, and I couldn’t save one. “
“We didn’t go out. We got out little by little,” Larissa says, before explaining that they had spent the night in the basement of the adjacent building after the attack. After that, the couple began walking along the humanitarian corridor towards the village of Mylikin, 20 kilometers southeast of Mariupol. “We walked for five hours. The few belongings we had along the way.” It was very complicated. We are already advanced: my wife is 68 and I am 72. We stopped a few times, but with two bags, we had no power left “Transportation didn’t work”. , at a checkpoint by Russian troops.
Putin’s army took them to Manush, 19 kilometers to the north. “The village was under the control of the Russians. We stayed in a friend’s house. The house was comfortable, but we decided to go to Berdyansk. We passed more than ten Russian checkpoints in 60 kilometers, but with the help of volunteers we managed to get there. When I opened the humanitarian corridor from Berdyansk to Zaporizhia We went to our daughter.
As they waited patiently in line at the Humanitarian Aid Center for Refugees in Odessa, the couple said that when they left Mariupol on March 27, the city was gone. “Houses were destroyed by planes. It was impossible to walk around the city. There was no food, water, electricity or gas. We spent a month like this. The temperature in the street was five degrees below zero, in the house three degrees below zero. The yard . “
For water, the couple went to the Dnipro River. They recall “At the time, it was still possible to turn around and we lived not far from the river. There were some resources.”
“The Russian occupation began on the left bank. So far, the center is holding. There were no Russians in the city center. At least we didn’t see them. Sometimes we saw tanks, but we didn’t see any soldiers,” he recalls.
Larisa explains that they were living next to the stronghold of the Azov Battalion, which these days is the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the city. “Our house was very close to the Azovstal metal plant. When they started bombing, they completely destroyed the plant.”
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