But no one could imagine the scale of the catastrophe that awaited the city. We hid in the backyard cellar: we could have hidden in the basement of the building, but we were afraid that nobody would dig us out if the building collapsed on us.
The year 2014 nevertheless taught us something - cereals, flour, sugar, tea, a small supply of water were stored in the house. However, all this turned out to be of not very much use, since on March 18 we were bombed and had to flee - the doors jammed, and Vitaly had to pull out me , my elderly mother and my aunt and her husband.
So we ended up in the port area - we have relatives there, but this turned out to be getting out of the frying pan and into the fire. Water was collected from some springs - it was almost undrinkable, very bitter. It was boiled, then filtered, but all the same, older people began to have kidney problems.
There was a shortage of provisions: we salvaged some from destroyed buildings nearby, and a couple times we went back for provisions to our half-ruined house. A can of meat was going for 800 hryvnias (~$22) per tin, a pack of cigarettes 10,000 (~$270), a liter of gasoline reached a thousand (~$100 per gallon). But people were willing to pay any amount just to get at least 20 kilometers away from Mariupol.
The internet connection stopped working almost everywhere in early March. There was just one spot near a hospital, where you could get reception. But, when on March 30 we came to try to get online, shelling began, the last cell tower was damaged, and were cut off from the outside world ever since.
Corpses, clothes, shoes and dog bowls were strewn on Primorsky Boulevard
On April 8th our shelter at the port was destroyed by a direct hit from a mortar. Vitaly pulled us out again, and then we just staggered from house to house - staying at the next more or less intact place. They were shooting 24/7. Artillery, cruise missiles, mortars, battleship guns - it’s a wild terror when a battleship fires a barrage at you. Also, they dropped phosphorus bombs on our block. Once we woke up at night because it was as bright as day, and had already forgotten what daylight looks like. The spectacle looked like a fireworks show, and soon phosphorus bombs flew at us, like little flashlights. They fell and around them began to burn things that, in principle, can’t burn. Some neighbors tried to put out the fire but the flames raged even more from the water. Many houses burned down overnight.