The situation in ruined Mariupol is critical. The siege of the city does not stop, Russian forces tighten the noose around the destroyed civilian buildings, and the remaining residents try to survive and welcome a new day. Footage of the bombing of maternity hospitals, shelters, schools and theaters where hundreds of people were hiding has traveled the world. The dead, the city administration tells us, number in the thousands. Humanitarian corridors for evacuating people or delivering food and drinks are not safe due to enemy fire. In Mariupol, the dead are buried in improvised mass graves because it is impossible to reach the official cemeteries. The attacks do not stop. No heating, no electricity, no water.
– As far as we know, there are currently about a hundred thousand people in the city. We are still trying to add up how many we have managed to evacuate so far. We think there should be about a hundred thousand of them, but those are not certain numbers. We do not have official evacuation corridors and we are witnessing terrible situations with shootings on humanitarian corridors towards Zaporizhia. Even when we manage to evacuate them, there is a possibility that they will block thousands of people on buses. The road to Vasylivka is also blocked, it is the last city on the road beyond the control of Russian forces. They can be without food and water for days, I don’t know what to call it, such a procedure. Thousands of people are waiting in the evacuation centers in Zaporizhia – Andrushenko describes to us.
He confirms the number of about three hundred people killed in the bombing of the theater a few days ago. Until recently, that theater served as a shelter from the war.
– At least three hundred of them were killed in the theater, as far as we know. Before the bombing, we knew that there were about 900 people there, and now, after checking, we see that about 300 were killed after the attack. All civilians. It is a completely civilian building anyway, it was the main theater in Mariupol before the shooting. We used this building as one of the largest shelters in the historic city center. In addition, it was a Russian cultural theater before the war. They targeted the Russian theater and here is an example of what Russian peace looks like – the mayor’s adviser is angry.
We ask him if he can to estimate how many enemy soldiers are currently in the city.
– Hard question. The front is in the city, our whole city is the front line. The control of parts of the city and the fighting in it change every hour. But Mariupol is still under our control. One large district is completely held by our forces, and as for the others, I can say that less than half of them are controlled by the Russians. But, I repeat, the situation is very difficult and changes every day, every hour – explains Andrushenko. He emphasizes that there are no official corridors for food procurement. Some humanitarian deliveries are passing, but in insufficient quantities.
– Our high-risk volunteers deliver some food and water to the city through unofficial passages. We help them and work together, we use every hole and opportunity to save our people and help them. All volunteers and all our citizens are united in helping – he adds.
We ask him about the information that appeared in the media about the water shortage. Mykola Osichenko, head of Mariupol television, told Deutsche Welle how people collected water from central heating, boiled it and drank it.
Andrushenko says that it is true that people in Mariupol reach for water from central heating.
– She’s not good to drink, of course, but she’s water. If you have any water, that’s fine. We can’t choose. The situation is such that water from all sources must be used – says Andrushenko. He also confirmed that people are still buried in mass graves.