One of the Ukrainian fighters still trapped in the Azovstal factory in Mariupol describes the atrocious conditions in which the wounded are found.
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Speaking on Ukrainian TV from inside the factory, the unidentified fighter said there were around 600 injured at the sprawling complex. “The conditions are just terrible,” he said.
“Today I was in the hospital. It’s a huge gymnasium in a school where there are several dozen bunk beds. Everything else is just on the ground. The fighters are simply lying without limbs, without arms, without legs,” said the fighter.
“They are dying in large numbers because we cannot provide adequate medical care. There are no drugs. Those with serious injuries… it is almost impossible to save them,” he says.
He describes the sanitary conditions at the hospital as “completely unsanitary”.
“It is already warmer, so there are flies. The smell is disgusting,” said the soldier.
After the ceiling of the operating room collapsed, it was moved to the same room as the hospital, says the fighter. Doctors operate without anesthesia.
The fighter confirms that he witnessed an operation on a soldier seriously injured in the leg. “He had a belt between his teeth. He is not anesthetized. And two doctors are trying to take something out of her. He’s screaming into that belt, his leg twitching.”
The fighter said he was not sure all civilians had been evacuated from the huge compound.
“No one can be 100% sure. Let’s just say we evacuated the civilians we knew about. They may be somewhere under the rubble, in some bunkers. We haven’t explored some shelters yet. Therefore, no one can be 100% sure. But the civilians we knew who were here, we evacuated them all.”
There has been no news on the progress of negotiations to evacuate the seriously injured from Azovstal. Last Friday, President Voloymyr Zelensky said the negotiations are difficult.
“At the moment, very difficult negotiations are underway regarding the next stage of the evacuation mission: the withdrawal of the seriously injured and the doctors. We are talking about a large number of people”.
Photos released by the Azov regiment also show the harsh reality of wounded soldiers, who are crying out for help.
“The entire civilized world must see the conditions in which the wounded and crippled defenders of Mariupol find themselves and act! (…) We call on the UN and the Red Cross to show humanity and reaffirm the fundamental principles on which you were created in helping the wounded who are no longer combatants.”
Russian forces have been trying to seize the factory since May 3. More than a thousand soldiers, many of them injured, are still trapped inside the huge steelworks. The Azovstal factory is the last pocket of resistance in the port city of Mariupol, which is now controlled by the Russians.
On May 7, women, children and the elderly were all evacuated from the factory.