The scene in Mariupol was one of devastation and despair on Thursday (March 17). Heavily damaged apartment buildings were in every district in the northern part of the port city, with residents collecting their possessions, and gathering food supplies among the debris of conflict, as cars queued in main streets trying to leave Mariupol.
The port city has been encircled by Russian forces and has been the scene of some of the fiercest bombardment of the conflict, after Russia sent thousands of troops into Ukraine.
“We were left without anything. We are living in basements. It’s a horror. What for? In whose eyes are we guilty?” cried pensioner Nadezhda, as she surveyed the scene around her apartment block.
Ukrainian officials say that Mariupol residents have been trapped in the city by Russian shelling without heating, electricity and running water for most of the past two weeks.
A statement from the city council said that about 30,000 residents had managed to escape so far, but more than 350,000 remained stuck there.