New images show buildings ablaze and flooding from a river that’s critical to the Russian advance toward Kyiv
Dmytro and Tania Shvets spent the first 23 days of the war hiding in their cellar in Mariupol with their 7-year-old daughter, Vlada, and their parents. The family managed to escape the besieged Ukrainian city on Thursday, but their parents stayed behind.
Having fled northeast to the central city of Dnipro, Tania told CNN that Russia’s bombardment has effectively wiped Mariupol off the map, and it’s only a matter of time before other cities in Ukraine face the same fate.
“There is no longer any city there. There is no longer a city of Mariupol … there isn’t a single residential building left. Only 10% of the people are left there. Just retirees without money or (those without) cars who can’t escape (and) people who can’t walk,” Tania said from the relative safety of a temporary shelter in Dnipro.
“We did not bathe for three weeks, (we) went to the toilet on a bucket and in a bag,” Tania wrote in a diary she updated each day from her underground hiding place. She shared her diary entries with CNN.
The family rarely left the cellar unless it was absolutely necessary to survive — leaving only to find food and water, and once to help bury neighbors killed by Russian artillery while waiting in line for food.
“The problem is that in our city, we didn’t have anything. No mobile connection. No internet connection. Everything was cut. The gas supply, the water supply. The lights,” Dmytro told CNN. “We were cooking outside, making the fire. Taking wood from the parks. Because there was no other option to survive — sharing food with our neighbors, our relatives.”
The couple said it felt like Russian forces were targeting groups of civilians waiting in line for food, water, or at a pharmacy.
“They were just killing us. If we gathered together in a group to find water, they just shot at us,” Tania said.
Read more about the family’s escape from Mariupol here.
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