TESTIMONIALS. “I have a head injury, but I’m alive!” : a survivor of the bombed theater in Mariupol recounts

A satellite photo bears witness to this: the word “children” was written in large letters on the ground, in Cyrillic, near the building. However, the Mariupol theater was bombed on Wednesday, the municipality confirms on Telegram.

“A place where more than a thousand people had taken refuge”, specifies the message, accompanied by a photo which shows the damage caused, according to the authorities, by a Russian aerial bombardment. According to the testimonies we collected, there were between 500 and 700 people in the building. The NGO “Human Rights Watch” also mentions the number of 500 civilians present in the building.

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Olga was in the theater at the time of the strike. Franck Mathevon and Jérémy Tuil were able to reach her despite a difficult telephone connection. She seemed lost, completely in shock: “I can’t tell you what happened. I don’t remember. I can only tell you that the strike was a little less powerful on our side of the building. But the ceiling collapsed . I have a head injury, but I’m alive!”

She left the building, along with his mother and two children. But without her husband, remained under the rubble”. “I looked for him everywhere, but the rubble is enormous, you can’t do anything with your bare hands. In the place where he was, everything is destroyed…”

Tatyana left the theater on Wednesday morning, shortly before the bombs. It testifies to a distressing climate: “We heard planes all the time, and there were strikes nearbyshe remembers. We jumped into a car. People took us away from this place. We left from the left bank to reach the city center, then we went to the theater because the Russians were bombarding the whole district, the buildings were destroyed.”

The Ukrainian says that the shelter welcomed many families with children. “I was with my mother, my father and our two children, 6 and 14 years old. People were bringing us hot water, tea, soups, meat, depending on the number of passports in your family. ” The seats in the room had been removed to make room for sleeping. “They found us blankets, pillows, everything possible to create spaces to sleep. After the strikes on Tuesday, people took refuge on the first floor or in the hall”. And Tatyana adds: If we had left later, we would have been among the victims.”

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After a series of failures, for lack of a Russian-Ukrainian ceasefire, evacuations accelerated in Mariupol. In this strategic port, the inhabitants lack water and food. More than 2,000 civilians have already perished in the besieged and shelled city for days, according to local authorities.

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