Heartbreaking testimony of a Ukrainian woman from Mariupol who took refuge in Azovstal

On Tuesday, an unidentified resident of Mariupol shouted for help at our antenna. Like a thousand other civilians, she lives isolated in the ground at the Azovstal industrial site, cut off from a city that passed under Russian control. While everything is lacking in this absolute Ukrainian enclave of the conglomerate, she has made her appeal to the international community.

Their plight is stark and they now find themselves at the center of discussions between Russia and the international community. A thousand civilians – according to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s count – currently live deep underground at the Azovstal industrial site, the last stronghold defended by Ukrainian soldiers in the city of Mariupol that passed under Russian hegemony. Among these refugees, a woman appealed for help, which was broadcast Tuesday morning on our antenna, in order to draw the attention of Ukraine’s allies.

‘My country is in decline’

This woman speaking to the camera from her basement is anonymous but that doesn’t matter, because after all, as she specifies, “in the name of all the inhabitants of Mariupol” she chose to defy “the whole world”.

“Help us please… We want to live! Let’s live in our city, our country! Naturally and quietly. We can’t stand any more of these bombings and air strikes. How long will that last?” , she asks. Referring to the Kremlin’s propaganda, which depicts the fall of Mariupol as a “liberation” of the city, she continues: “But who are we ‘liberating’ here? I don’t understand … Help us. Stop Russian aggression against my country.”

Nothing is “saved”

Then she draws a terrible panorama: “My country is in decline, and my city is completely destroyed. Everything is destroyed, not a single square meter was spared.”

“The children here cry all the time. They want to play and live. The children are asking for your help. Stop this aggression, I beg you. I am talking to the President of the United States, the United Kingdom, to France ”I appeal to Canada, Israel and Turkey. I appeal to you all, help us. Free us and save us. How long can this torture of our elderly, our children, our patients continue?”, she explains again.

2000 soldiers but “not a fly”

And the words of the military are no less disturbing than this civil petition. Sergey Volina, commander of the 38th Brigade of the National Navy, expressed himself in one of our reports: “Maybe we live our last days, maybe our last hours. The enemy is ten times more.” according to Corriere della Serathere are still 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers, tucked away in the sixth basement of this industrial conglomerate, which has been completely flattened.

Factory around which Vladimir Putin ordered a passive but strict blockade, so that “a fly cannot pass”, in the words he used last Thursday during a televised meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

timid international progress

The latter has also just made humanitarian commitments to the press, after meeting on Tuesday in Moscow with Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General. Sergey Lavrov promised the journalists present: “We will strengthen our coordination in this work, our cooperation in humanitarian aid through concrete measures,” adding: “We are ready to cooperate with the United Nations, its UNHCR, the UNHCR. Red Cross “.

Speaking alongside him, Antonio Guterres also mentioned this partnership to try to get civilians out of the Azovstal trap. He stressed that “many residents of Mariupol need assistance and are being evacuated,” calling for “coordinated action between the United Nations, the Red Cross and the belligerents to evacuate civilians wishing to leave the factory.”

For now – after days or even weeks of negotiations between the aggressor, the attacker and the observers – the Azovstal refugees still don’t expect anything to come. The international agenda sometimes struggles to accommodate the humanitarian emergency.

Robin Werner BFMTV journalist

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