Mariupol Diary - Scenes of despair, resolution in Ukraine city

A man rushes into a hospital carrying a toddler who is in serious condition. The mother follows him. To examine the wounds of patients, doctors use smartphones torches.

Mariupol Diary - Scenes of despair, resolution in Ukraine city

Mothers are able to nestle their infants in basement bomb shelters.

When shelling destroys a soccer field close to a school, a father is overcome with grief at the loss of his teenage son.

These scenes were captured by Associated Press journalists who documented Russia's invasion over the past week in and around Mariupol, Azov Sea port in southern Ukraine.

Nighttime temperatures hovering just above freezing meant that the battle plunged the city into darkness. It also knocked out most telephone services, increasing the possibility of food and water shortages. Without cell phone coverage, medical personnel didn't know where to go for the injured.

Russia had declared a limited cease-fire to allow civilians to evacuate Mariupol and Volnovakha. However, the truce quickly collapsed Saturday with Ukrainian officials accusing Russian shelling of preventing safe passage.

Russia made substantial gains in the south to block Ukraine's sea access. Russia could build a land corridor from Crimea by capturing Mariupol, which it took in 2014.


A man rushes through hospital doors carrying a badly wounded toddler wrapped in a blanket made of bloodstained pale blue. His girlfriend, the mother of the baby, is right behind him.

Hospital workers rush to Kirill's aid, but nothing can be done.

Marina Yatsko and Fedor, her boyfriend, weep in one another's arms. The distraught staff then sit down on the ground and attempt to get back to their normal lives before the next emergency strikes.

Mariupol has seen this scene over and over. A hospital worker had just pulled a 6-year-old girl, who was in serious condition, from an ambulance. Her mother stood helpless, and the workers helped her.

Multiple attempts to revive the mother failed, and she was left with her grief. The doctor looked directly into the camera that an AP videojournalist permitted inside.

He sent a message to Putin:



As the smoke from shelling rises above a snow-covered residential area of Mariupol as the bangs send women to the ground for shelter, the bangs in the city's hospitals send them crashing to the ground. One lifts her arms in prayer.

Because the hospital is without electricity or heating, doctors use their smartphones to check patients' wounds.

Doctor Evgeniy dubrov stated that "We work more than one week without a rest, some of us even more." "(We) keep working, everybody on their positions."

Ukrainian soldiers are shocked at their fallen comrades' deaths, and they can only help but scream in pain.

Svyatoslav Borodin said, "I don’t understand what happened. Blam, my eyes got darkened and my vision blurred." "I continued to crawl...but I didn't know if I had legs. I then turned around and saw my leg."



As they wait for the next emergency call, the medics are illuminated by flashes of shelling.

A father puts his face in his son's skull at the nearby hospital. The boy was found lying on his back, covered in a blood-stained sheet. He had suffered from injuries sustained during the shelling incident at the soccer field.

Staff at hospitals remove blood from a gurney. Another person treats a man with blood-soaked bandages.

The medics are ready to go, and they have put on their helmets.

They found a woman injured in her apartment and took her to the ambulance. Her hand was shaking quickly from shock. As the medics take her to the hospital, she yells in pain.

Orange light flashes along the edge of the sky as the darkness draws in, and loud bangs echo through the air.



Perhaps the toddler is responding instinctively to the camera's sight, and raises his arm.

The mother beneath is still crying.

They are laying on the ground in a gym-turned shelter, waiting for the fighting outside.

Many families have young children. Children can be anywhere. Some children love to giggle, while others run and play on the ground covered in blankets.

"God forbid any rockets hit. "That's why everyone's gathered here," Ervand Tovmasyan (local volunteer), said, along with his young son.

He claims that supplies have been brought in by locals. The shelter is still under Russian siege and does not have enough water, food or gasoline to power generators.

Many residents are still able to recall the 2014 shelling that saw Russia-backed separatists temporarily take the city.

Anna Delina fled Donetsk in 2014 and said, "Now the exact same thing is happening -- however, now we're together with children."



A row of four green tanks are located in Volnovakha, just outside Mariupol. They hold their cannons at approximately 45 degrees.

Two of them light up, jolting slightly the machines backwards and sending white smoke high in the sky.

The tank's letter Z is painted in white on the tanks. This tactical sign helps troops identify friends and foes in combat.

Russian forces are believed to use the tanks bearing the Z designation, which can be seen moving around in Russian-held territory.



A nurse puts a baby's shirt on. It's a happy sound.

Mariupol hospital babies are carried down the stairs to a makeshift nursery, which also acts as a shelter from shelling.

As Makar, her infant son, sits in the shelter's dimly lit shelter, Kateryna Suharokova, a new mother, struggles to control her emotions.

The 30-year-old, shaking her voice, says that she was anxious to give birth to the baby in these circumstances. "I am grateful to the doctors for allowing this baby to be born in such conditions. Everything will be okay, I believe."

Hospital staff work in the basement to help victims of the shelling. As he is being wheeled to the hospital, a young man is seen with his face ashen and a woman who has blood running from her mouth. One other person, who died, is covered with a thin, blue sheet.

Oleksandr Balash (head of the anesthesiology section) says, "Do I need more?"

"This is just one boy."


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