This is yet another tragedy in the making. A massacre of civilians but larger than in Bucha and other towns around Kyiv that happened just last month. The video below shows the children that will die if the world doesn’t help them leave Mariupol now.
Mariupol is besieged. The city famous for its hard work on metallurgical smelters has grown in size in recent years because of the refugees from the Russian-backed separatists that installed themselves as Putin’s client states since 2014. At the beginning of the Russian invasion, the population was estimated at 500,000 people.
Mariupol is right across the ceasefire line between the separatists and the rest of Ukraine. When the Russian invasion started before dawn on Thursday, February 24, Mariupol residents had no time to evacuate. Parents of young children felt it was too risky to hit the road under the constant airstrikes and artillery fires that were particularly intensive during the first weeks of the war. The civilians who were unable to evacuate because of small children, old age or disabilities, took refuge in the outspokenly civilian buildings – the Drama Theater, the Maternity Hospital, and the like. These buildings were not made of military-grade concrete but they were clearly non-military.
The idea that a theater and a maternity hospital were off-limits were shuttered when the maternity hospital was hit on March 11 and the drama theater was razed to the ground on March 30 despite a big inscription CHILDREN on its roof. About 1,000 civilians were sheltered there.
The Russian Army did not agree to humanitarian corridors and was telling the civilian to “just go” as if there were no shellings or airstrikes. The pleas of international humanitarian organizations were left unheard.
The civilians poured into Azovstal Metallurgical Plant that had outfitted bomb shelters left from the times when the Soviet Union was getting ready for a nuclear war. The Ukrainian military guarded Azovstal and had food and water that they shared with the civilians.
Last week, on April 11, a separatist official announced that the Russian Army would use chemical weapons to remove the people and the military from Azovstal. As per the Russian mass media, he was hastily removed from his position, apparently because he revealed the actual plan. The chemical weapons were used in a limited scope against Mariupol, and Azovstal in particular, soon thereafter.
4-year-old Alisa has lived in a bunker in Mariupol under Azovstal. Hundreds of other civilians also live here, under military protection. At least 50 children are blocked. Videos below reveal the terrifying situation they have been in. The world needs to speak in one voice and demand the humanitarian corridor.
READ MORE ABOUT Mariupol here