Russia Ukraine War: The Russian army has laid a very tight siege of Mariupol. But even the gathering of the Russian army around the city did not stop Mykhailo Puryshev from helping the people. Puryshev entered the city six times last month to evacuate the citizens of Mariupol. Despite the destruction of his red bus, he somehow survived. Puryshev, 36, (who once ran a nightclub in the city) said he evacuated more than 200 people during his six dangerous journeys.
Russia said last week that it had gained full control of the strategically important eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, except for the vast Azovstal industrial area. Hundreds of civilians are reportedly taking refuge with Ukrainian soldiers in this industrial area. Ukraine claims that about one lakh citizens are trapped in the city.
Private Trips Sahara for People
Like Puryshev, private trips have been a lifeline for hungry citizens as repeated attempts to set up humanitarian corridors failed. Puryshev said, “When I went for the first time (on March 8), the city was like a cloud of smoke, like a bonfire. ..” Purishev has published videos of his travels online that offer a rare glimpse of the city.
There are many war marks on the Puryshev bus.
Puryshev said that the windshield of his bus, which his friends had bought specifically to evacuate people from Mariupol, had three side windows and one side door destroyed in a stroke. “Thank God no one was inside,” he said. He repaired the van between trips. Puryshev said “the bus was shelled, a strike, a mortar, a rifle fire, frankly, there are many traces of war on it.”
Puryshev said it took eight hours to drive through Russian-held territory to Mariupol, crossing checkpoints and occasionally crossing mud and corpses swamps, while there was a constant fear of landmines. He said that inside the city, he tried not to look for dead bodies scattered on the ground or inside the charred remains of vehicles, for fear that he might see a dead child and break.
Kia bomb shelter installed in basement
Puryshev reported that people were buried in the streets, in shopping centers, nightclubs and even on the grounds of a kindergarten. Some of the dead bodies were left on benches wrapped in carpets. He had asked the employees of his old nightclub to set up a bomb shelter in the basement. In this, about 200 people including elderly and pregnant women were kept.
Puryshev said he was eventually forced to abandon his trips on March 28 when a separatist soldier told him never to return or else he would be locked up – or worse. He said that God had taken care of him. Puryashev has a plan for his vehicle. “When we return to Mariupol, we will turn it into a monument,” he said.
Why Mariupol Important
Let us tell you that the capture of the port city of Mariupol is important for Russia, both strategically and symbolic. It will connect Russia and the Crimean peninsula by land and allow Russian forces to move anywhere in the Donbass.
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