‘Please help us!’: Mothers and children issue heartbreaking rescue plea from dingy Mariupol cellar where they hide from Russian bombs as food, water and medicine runs out
Trapped in a dingy cellar, these are the desperate mothers and children issuing a heartbreaking appeal to be saved as Russian bombs rain down upon them in in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
After almost two weeks of constant Russian bombardment, lawyer Victoria Konovalov pleads to the world to help evacuate the group of 20 women, children and old people she is with who have been sheltering without heating or water.
With the sounds of sobbing children in the background and her voice trembling with fear, Ms Konovalov cries: ‘We are in Mariupol. Today is March 13th. We are in the cellar.
Desperate mothers and children issued a heartbreaking appeal to be saved. They are trapped in a dingy cellar as Russian bombs rain down upon them
‘There are 20 children and senior [old] people. We don’t have food, first aid and vital supplies. Shops and pharmacies are destroyed.’
In the video, which was circulated on social media she adds: ‘We do not have [heating] gas and water supplies. Military planes are flying above us dropping bombs.
‘Please organise a humanitarian corridor for us! Please help us!
‘Please help our children to escape from here!’
Since being surrounded by Russian troops soon after the start of the war, gas, running water and electricity in Mariupol has been cut off.
The Black Sea port city finds itself at the centre of a growing humanitarian crisis, as food and medical supplies run out and aid is not being allowed in. The city has been under constant Russian shelling, with an estimated 350,000 residents trapped inside it.
The local authorities say the war there has left at least 2,400 civilians dead, but even they acknowledge that this is an underestimate.
According to reports, hundreds of civilians are also crammed into the basement of a large public building many of them developing severe medical problems and running short of food and clean drinking water.
After almost two weeks of constant Russian bombardment, lawyer Victoria Konovalov (pictured) pleads to the world to help evacuate the group of 20 women, children and old people she is with who have been sheltering without heating or water
There was some relief for beleaguered residents after 2,000 left Mariupol with another 2,000 waiting to leave but no aid was allowed in.
It is not known if Ms Konovalov and others with her in the video are amongst those who have managed to flee to safety.
Last week, after the city’s maternity hospital was bombed by Russian forces, which was described as a war crime, Mariupol’s mayor called on the global community to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine in an attempt to halt the destruction of his country.
Drone footage has captured the moment Russian missiles hit buildings in the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol which has been encircled by Moscow’s forces for a week and a half
A second piece of footage shows a string of high-rise buildings burning next to a row of charred structures that appear to have already been hit by Russian missile strikes in Moscow’s relentless bombardment of the city
Another clip shows plumes of black smoke rising above Mariupol while flashes of artillery fire continue to light-up the small port city, which has experienced some of the worst suffering of Moscow’s 19-day war
The drone also captured a tank being obliterated in a close-quarter skirmish, leaving the vehicle engulfed in a red-hot blaze and a thick cloud of black smoke
A woman walks past building obliterated by Russian shelling in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on Sunday, March 13
People walk past a crater from the explosion in Mira Avenue, or Avenue of Peace, in Mariupol, Ukraine on Sunday, March 13
People look at a burning apartment building in a yard after shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Sunday, March 13
In a plea to world leaders, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko begged: ‘Today I am asking the global community for help. Close the sky over Ukraine. Our will has not been broken, we will fight to the end.
‘We have motivated soldiers and officers who defend our homeland. But today we need support.’
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has also echoed the sentiments of Mr Boichenko and pleaded with Western allies to ‘close the skies’ over his country, saying Russia was trying to ‘annihilate’ it.
He issued his appeal during a virtual address to the Canadian parliament and one day before he’s scheduled to address American lawmakers.
He urged: ‘Can you imagine when you when you call your friends – your friendly nation – and you ask please close the sky. Close the airspace, please stop the bombing, how many more cruise missiles have to fall on our cities until you make this happen.’
The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and MailOnline UKRAINE REFUGEE APPEAL
Readers of Mail Newspapers and MailOnline have always shown immense generosity at times of crisis.
Calling upon that human spirit, we are now launching an appeal to raise money for refugees from Ukraine.
For, surely, no one can fail to be moved by the heartbreaking images and stories of families – mostly women, children, the infirm and elderly – fleeing from Russia’s invading armed forces.
As this tally of misery increases over the coming days and months, these innocent victims of a tyrant will require accommodation, schools and medical support.
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