| Translation by Roman Sheremeta
Last Tuesday, Svitlana Zlenko fled the besieged eastern Ukraine city of Mariupol with her young son. After finding safety, she used Twitter to share this account of life under siege. Dr Roman Sheremeta is an associate professor of economics at Case Western Reserve University at Cleveland, Ohio, in the USA. He prefaced this translation with a warning: “The faint-hearted should not read this” - KJ
SOMEWHERE IN UKRAINE - We collected snow, warmed it on a campfire and cooked macaroni. My family was in the bomb shelter of High School No 2.
Three days ago a shell flew there and shattered some of the windows. A woman was wounded in her hip.
She lay all night on the first floor of the high school asking for someone to give her poison so that she would not feel the pain.
There was no one to take her to the hospital. Every day and every night there are fire shots, whistles, shaking walls and horror: Where will it hit?
Doctors from Hospital No 3 (the part that survived) work heroically: they perform surgeries, they save people.
The woman with the wounded hip was taken by the Red Cross within a day. I pray for her to survive. Two shells flew into our building and two into our yard.
My mother, Angela, and three brothers, Roman (16), Vasya (11) and Vladislav (9), reside in a city-centre building on the fifth floor. My mother-in-law, Lyubov, and father-in-law, Anatoly, reside on the ninth floor.
There are almost no shelters in the city left, no bunkers with ventilation. At best, people hide in basements.
My mom's building doesn’t have a basement. People need to be taken out - women, children, elderly people. Give us buses, a green corridor, make an arrangement!
I pray for my loved ones, every Mariupolian, every Ukrainian soldier.
The enemy came to us and left us no choice, but there is nothing more valuable than human life. This needs to end!
There is no food, no medicine. When there will be no more snow, people won’t be able to go out for water.
Pharmacies, grocery stores - everything is either looted or burned.
The dead are not taken out. The police recommend to open the windows and put the corpses on the balcony.
I know you think you understand what's going on, but you'll never understand unless you've been here.
I can now hear the sound of sirens and I'm not afraid. Earlier there was no power for 16 days in Mariupol so we weren’t warned before planes dropped bombs on us.
I beg everyone to stop this! I don't know what will happen next, but I pray that this will never happen again in any of the cities of Ukraine and the world.
Nobody: a pregnant woman in the hospital who failed to give life because a shell fell on the hospital and killed her.
They show you how buildings burn, but they don't show you how people burn.
Do I need to burn myself for you to believe that this has to stop? I beg you to stop this!
These 21 days changed everyone. Everything has changed!
Nothing matters now, costs nothing, as long as everyone left in this Mariupol hell would not be shaken in fear and horror.