May 13, 2022


Original post: Translated and edited by our team.

Sergei is a wedding photographer. He left Mariupol on March 14. Sergei cried several times during the conversation with @krasilshchik (Instagram). He took photos of Mariupol after the war has started. If you want to buy them, DM him on Instagram: @makaroffoto.

I learned yesterday that three of my friends are gone. My neighbor went for a walk with his dog when a shell flew in and killed him. The other friend was driving in a car with other people. There were 5 of them inside. A shell fell, and they burned alive in the vehicle.The third girl lived close to me. When a shell fell, three floors in her house were destroyed. I received a message saying that they were killed.

The heating was turned off. It was -9 degrees Celsius outside and 3 degrees in the apartment. Then the radiators burst from the frost buildup.

The worst thing was when the gas was cut off. We cut the trees in the yard and burned them using the grill. It took 20 minutes to boil a glass of water. Apparently, there is an alternative way to cook buckwheat: you cover it with water, leave it for a day, and it’s ready.

Every day we thought it couldn’t get any worse. And the worst began on March 8, when they started aerial bombing. Nothing remains after an air raid. If a bomb hits a house, the whole facade collapses. At first, we calculated that they were bombing every 3 hours. We knew when we could go out to bring medicine to our parents. Later they started bombing every hour. Then every minute.

There are not enough bomb shelters for everyone. There was so little room in the bomb shelter that you had to step over people to get to the toilet. There was a family in our bomb shelter with several generations of people. They hid food from each other. My neighbor strangled his cat because there was nothing to feed it. And you are not protected by anything if you come out of the bomb shelter. A bomb can fly, fall a hundred meters away, and you will be thrown aside by an explosive wave.

My wife and I ran to the next street, to my parents. The bombs started falling as we ran. You have to fall into a ditch and lie down when this happens. Safety precautions say that you will survive if you are below the curb. It is scary when you don’t control anything.

An acquaintance of mine recently got out to Russia. She stayed on the left bank of Mariupol, where the most brutal battles took place. When they were about to leave, their car got under fire. A guy was wounded there, and they sewed him up with simple sewing threads in the basement. They hid in a bomb shelter in the basement. Yesterday they tried to get out again. When they walked outside, a house panel fell on one of the guys, and he was crushed to death right in front of their eyes. They gave up and went to the distribution center. I got a message saying that she was taken to Donetsk. Nobody wanted to go to Russia. People who went did it only for the sake of saving their lives.

My friend went to the hospital on duty and didn’t come back home for three days because no one could replace him all this time. It was impossible to get to the hospital due to the shelling.

The Russian military does not allow Ukrainian buses to go through. Officially they say that evacuation from Mariupol takes place in the city of Berdyansk. Berdyansk is 90 kilometers away. People without their own transport will never get there. There was no gasoline for already three weeks. Some people are looking for it among their families and some never stocked on it. Some people poured gasoline into the generator to charge their phones. You can’t just get out.

My friend and his pregnant wife left Mariupol on foot and walked in the direction of Berdyansk. They were lucky someone picked them up in a car. Russia does nothing to allow people to leave for Ukrainian cities.

Russian media says that we bombed our own maternity hospital, that the Azov battalion did it, and so on. So that you understand, there was a humanitarian aid point in one of the buildings of the maternity hospital. There were diapers for children and food. Everyone knew that humanitarian help was distributed there. Why would we direct a bomb at ourselves? We wouldn’t put humanitarian aid at the location of the Azov battalion. There would have been at least some military vehicles or personnel. They weren’t there. We went there all the time ourselves.

The airstrike on the Drama Theater was the last straw. We went there to gather information because there were lots of people. The military came from time to time to share information from the frontlines. We went there because we felt safe there. Nobody thought that they would bomb civilians. After all, because there was no gas anymore, people gathered there to cook something on the grill. There were a lot of people outside the theater. There was a large bomb shelter inside. The Russian media wrote that the Azov battalion was there, but I went there all the time. There was no Azov there.

I was luckier than the others because I didn’t bury anyone in my yard, unlike my friends. I was more fortunate because I didn’t see many torn-off arms. I didn’t have to bury my wife in the kindergarten opposite my house as my neighbor had to do.

I read what the punishment was for some German Nazis. They had to rebury the people they killed with their bare hands. I want the punishment for this to be worse because they just kill and shoot us here. We do not have any military facilities in Mariupol. If someone still doesn’t understand, they are simply destroying us.

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