Innocent Ukrainians in what’s left of the decimated city of Mariupol are losing their hair and teeth from stress — and children are going gray, according to worrying reports.
A woman, only identified as Viktoria, told The Times of London that she has been in contact with her brother, a Ukrainian national guardsman holed up in the Azovstal steel plant.
“There are many civilians [in the plant],” Viktoria, 42, said.
“I think many of them are the staff of Azovstal. Also, there are many of those whose homes were destroyed. Many elderly and children.”
Viktoria, who asked for her 36-year-old sibling’s identity to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, recounted the heart-wrenching scenes he described.
“Many people began to stutter. Some are losing hair and teeth,” she said, adding that many of the children had seen their parents killed and some had gone gray from the trauma.
Viktoria said her brother also described a night when part of the plant was bombed, slaughtering some of the frightened civilians sheltering inside. Her brother has been trapped in the plant since February 24.
“We got everything that was left of their bodies with a shovel and put it in separate plastic bags,” her brother said of the night, according to Viktoria.
“Then they wrote their names on those bags,” she said.
“Many injured people are lying on the ground, sometimes on mattresses,” the heartbroken sister continued, recounting the horrors her sibling has witnessed.
“Surgeries are done there, too. They don’t have any antiseptic so many people rot. My brother has never changed his uniform. He’s still wearing the one he wore at the beginning.”
The information, all second-hand from her brother, could not be independently verified.
The report comes as Russian bombardment of the Donbas port city continues unabated, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin declaring victory over the town’s defenders last week.
Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to Mariupol’s mayor, claimed on his Telegram channel Friday that Russian troops had tried and failed to storm the steel plant, despite Putin’s public declaration last week that he would instead blockade the Ukrainians.
“Yesterday, the occupiers continued attempts to storm Azovstal,” he wrote, adding, “Success has not been achieved, so shelling and bombing continue.”
The United Nations was reportedly scrambling to enact a rescue effort in Mariupol Friday, after meeting with both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in recent days.
Despite Putin agreeing to a UN-managed evacuation “in principle,” Russian forces conducted airstrikes on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv yesterday — while UN Secretary General António Guterres was meeting there with Zelensky.
Vitali Klitschko, mayor of the Ukrainian capital, called the missile strike Putin’s “middle finger” to the UN.
Some 2,000 Ukrainian troops and 1,000 unarmed civilians are believed to be taking shelter in the sprawling Azovstal plant.
The UN gave no details regarding any proposed rescue plan, citing safety and security concerns.
With Post wires