On Saturday morning, the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, where an estimated 200,000 people are besieged under severe Russian bombing, offered a ceasefire and the opportunity for residents to flee.
The city organized 50 buses, and a large number of people traveled to the city center to board them. However, less than two hours later, Russia’s forces resumed bombardment of residential are as, trapping civilians who had begun to flee.
The city has been without water, power, or sanitation for the fifth day, and food and water are rapidly running out.
On Saturday night, Maxim, a 27-year old IT developer who is caring for his grandparents in their six-story flat, said to recall a day that started with hope and concluded with sadness.
We attempted to flee today, which was supposed to be a no-shooting day.
We heard we might be able to leave.
I crammed four suitcases full of warm clothes and food for myself and my grandparents, as well as all of our remaining water, into my car as quickly as I could.
My grandparents are in their eighties and are unable to assist.
To get to my car, I had to carry everything down six flights of stairs.
There is no longer a lift. The shelling resumed just as I was getting ready to drive.
I hurriedly hauled everything back upstairs to my flat. I could see smoke coming from the city and the highway leading to Zaporizhzhia from there.
So I’m still at my grandparents’ apartment, and the shelling and bombing have been going on all day long.
But now, instead of three of us, there are nearly twenty of us here.
Many people flocked to the city center after hearing that there would be a truce and buses to transport them away from the shelling.
When it started raining again, they couldn’t get back to their shelters.
As a result, we’ve invited a large number of guests into the apartment.
They are from the city’s left side, and they claim it has been destroyed.
All of the houses are on fire, and no one can put them out.
Many dead bodies are strewn throughout the streets, and no one can carry them.
I recognize three of the individuals from my previous neighborhood, but I am unfamiliar with the others.
The oldest is a woman in her late seventies, while the youngest is a toddler.
We also have a dog, two cats, and a parrot.
We attempted to create space on the floor for ladies and children to sleep.
We don’t have any more beds, so we’ve spread out some extra carpet and clothes on the floor for them to sleep on.
We’ve used up all of our bottled water.
We’re down to the water in the bath that I poured before the taps turned off.