Mariupol, “130 left the theater alive”. More civilian massacres in the East

Of Andrea Nicastro, our correspondent in Zaporizhya

But there may be hundreds of people trapped or dead in the arena. The authorities: rescue impossible, the city is 80% destroyed, 40,000 managed to escape

Is there still someone trapped under the rubble of the Mariupol theater? Few or many? Could it be 600? People are fleeing the city on the Sea of ​​Azov, but the chaos is so great due to the street fighting that no one has yet told how he was saved. Deputies from Kiev speak of people who came out unscathed from the shelter after the bombing on Wednesday. Centrotrenta according to Olga Stefanyshyna. Even Dmytro Gurin, the first to relaunch the photo of the collapse taken by a local informant on his social networks, confirms the optimism: “It seems that most of them survived and are well”. To give the news full of “seems” and “about” is still people 700 kilometers away from the theater. A video surfaced from social media shows a woman with a flashlight on her forehead who claims to have survived the collapse. “We cooked 800 meals a day,” she recalls. If 130 really got out, there would be 6/700 trapped.

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The woman with the flashlight gets filmed by a mobile phone in the park of the former theater. Her voice is breathless from the cold and the tension. Behind her the ruins of the building, but no sign of relief. Local authorities insist the shelter may have held up. Yet no rescue operation, no excavator went to work. Shots and bombs give no respite. If true, this would be the second night for hundreds of people under the rubble of the theater. Without anyone being able to do anything. From Mariupol, in three days, 40 thousand have already fled and others, hopefully, will flee soon. A fuel tanker was able to enter the besieged city to fill the tanks of the cars and set them in motion. Even some buses have had a green light to take away those who do not have a car to escape.

After two weeks of absolute closure, of bombings or machine guns on those trying to get out, of promised convoys and then denied, of roads declared safe and then mined, something seems to have changed in the attitude of the Russians. The more Putin’s army advances, the more the Ukrainians flee. The Municipality of Mariupol says the city is destroyed by 80% and the death toll has risen to 20,000. an exorbitant number. However, it is clear that the Russians are emptying it with the terror of bombs. Upon their victory, the city of Mary will resemble a desert. By comparing the many stories of the displaced people who arrived in Zaporizhya, we can build a plausible picture of the situation in the city. The Russian army no longer has only a squeeze around the city. Now armored vehicles, tanks, even civilian cars with the z drawn on the sides, make raids among the houses. The periphery is demolished. The large Azovstal steel complex was also bombed several times. Some believe it is already under the control of Russian forces. The only untouched part of the city is the port which will likely serve their ships.

Mariupol, the images of civilian refugees in the theater a few days before the bombing

A similar fate also seems to await Kharkiv

second Ukrainian city on the border with Russia. The fighting is getting closer and more violent. Yesterday, the Ukrainians accuse, about 50 victims of cluster bombs on Kozacha Lopan villages and cannon fire on Merefa. Slava is an engineer from Mariupol, now in a displaced person center in Zaporizhye, 250 kilometers to the north. He uses precise words to describe hers passage to hell. “We live, we used to live in tower number 5 of a 9-story residential complex to the west. In the cellars there was room only for women and children so during the bombing we men stayed on the landings, each on his own floor, where everything is made of reinforced concrete, without windows. On the night of March 8, two bombs hit a nearby tower. Five floors collapsed. The rest caught fire. Our building rocked like an earthquake. I felt dying so at dawn we ran away to our company offices. We didn’t even look to see if there were any casualties or survivors in the collapsed floors. Too dangerous to be out there. There were air raids every half hour. The jet came, dropped three bombs, and left. Half an hour later again, all day and all night. You heard the noise, but you didn’t know who it would be. Cooking was also a roulette on life. Wood fire outside the building, turn the soup a little and then inside, in the hall, to shelter. A pinch of salt and sheltered again. Absurd, to turn the soup with death one step away ». The journey from home to office, made so many times, it seemed, Slava was looking for the right image, “a war film”.

“Craters in the streets, gutted buildings, burnt houses, shards of glass and bombs covering the streets from sidewalk to sidewalk like a carpet. I was terrified of puncturing a tire, looking for the least dirty asphalt by turning left and right. All with airplanes and cannon fire that passed over our heads ».

We knew from word of mouth that some sort of public authority still existed in the theater. That someone was passing food to hundreds of refugees in there. Luck would have it that there were already many cars and the check points were about to open ». It was Tuesday, the day before the bomb on the theater. «The theater was full of people – remembers Slava -. They had a field kitchen with which they prepared meals for everyone. They had dismantled the seats in the stalls and the wooden part ended up in the stove, the red velvet cushions had become beds ». Italian minister Franceschini has offered Italian help for when the time comes to rebuild and President Zelensky thanked him. But first you need to understand if there is anyone to save. For the whole of Maripol it is already too late.

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