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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Stanislav from Mariupol

    Riabov Stanislav “I can say about the situation in Mariupol that it was a kind of hell on Earth…”

    Life under fire

    АвторAuthor: Yulia Zarudnitska | Translation:

    20 May 2022

    23-year-old Stanislav Ryabov is a native of Mariupol. It was here that his happy, peaceful childhood took place. He first sat at a desk at the school where the “new mayor” was recently elected and graduated and worked for his future, family, city, and country. His life was without suffering until Putin decided to take the initiative and help with the so-called “liberation”. 95% of the population of Mariupol does not support such actions, including the family of our hero. Even though his grandmother and mother are Russian.

    Beginning. 02/24/2022

    The city is quiet, and there is no particular anxiety in the people. Everyone is doing their routine: someone is in a hurry to work, someone has gone to the store. After the declaration of martial law, people were not afraid but instinctively began to buy food. Nobody thought it would last more than a week, everyone thought it would be like in 2014 – a few days, and that’s it.

    The eastern and left-bank districts of Mariupol were the first to be hit. I work close to the first one. I went to work in the morning, but I was warned and told to sit on particular orders. I was fortunate because this area was shelled. And those who lived there… I feel sorry for them…

    The first serious “riots” and corpses in the middle of the city

    The first three days were evacuation by trains to the centre and west of Ukraine. People were driving, but they were units. Nobody wanted to leave their house and property until the last minute. Some just had nowhere to go.

    On the fourth day, the cannonade intensified; we had all the means of communication and the resources to live in the city. The heating was turned off first. It seemed so trivial compared to the war. Later, constant sirens and runs from the apartment to the shelter and vice versa began.

    March 9 arrived at my house. At this time, I was cooking on the street and heard shells flying somewhere. Suddenly I heard a whistle and immediately hid. I know that when you hear a whistle, it passes by. And so it happened. I got to the next house, then again. The sound was very close, and I started running to the entrance. As soon as I ran in and closed the door, the shell exploded, and another hit someone’s apartment. There were no casualties, but we felt the vibration throughout the house. All the windows fell apart; someone’s windows, balconies, and doors were torn. The wreckage hit cars, and someone’s apartment broke through.

    The following days were terrible. Our area was bombed, and every house was on fire. We saw the first corpses on the streets. The old, the women. I saw people burying the dead in the backyard, right under the windows…

    The plane of death and the gradual disappearance of food, water, and communication. We were saved by snow

    In front of my eyes, a Russian plane struck an airstrike on nearby houses. There was no military. I saw how cruel this “Russian world” was. The aircraft continued to bomb our city, striking the city hospital №3, where there was a military hospital where wounded and sick people were.

    After Volnovakha, Sartana and Talakivka were razed to the ground, people were surprised by what was happening in the 21st century in the centre of Europe! And this is not a terrible dream! This is reality! Everyone tried not to panic, to listen to the instructions of our mayor, who wanted to help the people of Mariupol.

    The fifth and sixth days of the war were the most difficult compared to the previous ones. The light was turned off for us, followed by water and all communications. We were cut off from the world but did not give up. We had food and water and something to cook. It was not the worst.

    On the seventh and eighth days, we were still counting the days of the war, but we no longer knew the date and day of the week. These days, we’ve spent all our resources on subsistence and some attempts to connect with someone. We didn’t know what to do because the water and food were running out. Some people no longer had anything to eat.

    Bombing of Mariupol Photo Associated Press

    It became more complicated the next few days because there was no more water. But it snowed! It began to melt, followed by rain – it helped us with water. It didn’t matter to us that it wasn’t crystal clear. Food was prepared over a fire, one for all. A large fireplace for everyone on the porch. It was all under fire, and I will never forget that sound. You don’t know where it will hit this time. And it was scary, but later we learned to distinguish between flying to us or from us.

    The maternity ward was soon damaged. I don’t know what pregnant women and newborns are guilty of. I was personally there after the airstrike; the crater is just enormous. The plane bombed other buildings. In my opinion, they were not looking for military facilities; they had another goal – to destroy everything and level the city to the ground. I confess I was scared when I heard that a plane was flying somewhere and getting closer. I heard him launch rockets; I ran, clung to the ground near a fence, closed my eyes, covered my head with my hands and prayed that it was for me.


    At the age of 23, I had seen enough of this war. It’s not me who has to complain; it’s the people who still stay there. It is about 150 thousand people from half a million people who are starting to starve; some die from them, these “liberators”. Children, the elderly and innocent women are dying. The Red Cross left the city and dumped the people in its shelter. Only the State Emergency Service of Ukraine staff, when the occupiers were already in the city, continued to rescue people and provide food and other assistance. Doctors operated in basements!

    In 2014, I already saw fighting in the Donetsk region, including my eastern part. It wasn’t easy then. It was awful, and I thought it couldn’t get any worse. As it turned out, maybe… There are no whole houses, buildings, monuments, nothing left in the city…

    Now my family and I are safe. In the glorious city of Lviv. But we still can’t recover from the war we saw in our hometown.

    Чому важливо поширити цю історію?
    Якщо українці не розповідатимуть свій погляд на війну в Україні, світ поступово забуватиме про нас. Натомість цим обов’язково скористаються росіяни. Тому не даймо їм жодного шансу.

    Why is it important to share this story?
    If Ukrainians do not share their views on the war in Ukraine, the world will gradually forget about us. Instead, the Russians will definitely take advantage of this. So let's not give them a chance.

    АвторAuthor: Yulia Zarudnitska | Translation:

    Life under fire

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