According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenský, 100,000 people are suffering in besieged Mariupol. The president says the townspeople are living, quote, “in complete siege with no food, no water, no medicine, under constant shelling, under constant shelling. Historically, it was a Russian-speaking city. So why are the “rescuers” “denazifying” it by terrorizing the civilian population?
So they are clearly aggressors – I mean the Russian army. For me, what is happening in Mariupol is comparable to the massacre of the 1990s in Srebrenica, where around 8,300 people were murdered. It was genocide.
Of course, we don’t have exact numbers for Mariupol now, and the fight isn’t there yet. Today I spoke with the spokesman of the mayor of Mariupol. I called him and asked him if they had any numbers. He mentioned about three thousand deaths, but that these are only estimates, as it is not possible to calculate exactly. The genocide there is enormous.
There are other reasons why Russia wants to get it. We were talking about it in part: because it would gain access to Crimea and then eventually to Odessa. But there is another reason. The fact is that Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainians – and Vladimir Putin told this – do not want to give in, they are fighting for their freedom.
And when Russia is slaughtering as many young children and women as possible and the brutal genocide taking place there, Vladimir Putin may think that will put pressure on public opinion in Ukraine. That he will put pressure on the political leaders of the country, that he will want an agreement with Russia. This public opinion will say: for God’s sake, so many innocent people are already dead, let’s make a deal. I think Vladimir Putin is wrong about this, but at the same time I think this is one of the main reasons why Russia is attacking Mariupol so brutally.
According to Zelenský, efforts to rescue civilians through humanitarian corridors thwart Russian bombardment and deliberate terror. The Russians are said to have hijacked eleven buses from the evacuation convoy, the drivers are taken hostage by aid workers. Do we know anything more about this?
These messages appear. Here again I was talking about my conversations, trying to find out more: I was talking to a woman who had been evacuated from Mariupol five or six days ago. She described to me how a bomb had fallen on their house, they had nothing to eat, the bomb tore small children, tore their neighbors. It was very difficult to get out of town with her young child and part of the family – she chose an overland route, it took ten or fifteen times longer than normal. The people they let pass in front of them shot them.
So the evacuation is very complicated, very complicated. Only a very small number of these people manage to receive from Mariupol and it is not clear if this will continue. That is why I think it would be appropriate for all the foreign ministers of the European Union to go to Mariupol with humanitarian aid and try to intervene there, because I think that once we look back and that we will not do anything more for Mariupol, it will be a memory similar to Srebrenica or before that in Rwanda. Of course, the numbers were much higher, but it will be something we will be very ashamed of.
The governor of the Donetsk region informed that Russia also attacked from the air the sports center in Mariupol, which served as a refuge for pregnant women and mothers with children. According to the authorities, it was not possible to determine the number of victims. How can we help them?
I have already indicated something. It’s not up to me, I’m a journalist and a journalist usually describes these things, and then the specific policy decisions have to be made by the politicians or the people responsible for them. But I think the kind of path the Greek foreign minister wants to take would be helpful. The Russians will then be faced with the decision of whether they want to assassinate a minister from a member state of the European Union.
At least humanitarian aid and the opening of humanitarian corridors through such pressure could be beneficial for Mariupol. It seems that there are still around 100,000 inhabitants of Mariupol’s original size, which was around 450,000. With similar visits, the pressure, the mediation of food and water…they don’t even have water there, they’ve warmed the snow and maybe there won’t be no snow. These people have nothing to drink, the water in the stores has run out, they are dying. I think we could help them more.
Under what circumstances did the last two journalists come out of besieged Mariupol? Do the defenders have a chance of keeping the city if, according to the separatists, there are a few days left to conquer it? Listen to the full interview conducted by Vladimír Kroc.