photo by AP

“Son, I’m writing in case the connection is restored and the messages will get sent. Everything is fine with us, we still have gas. They say, we won’t have it soon. Bombardment is heavy. We haven’t had water and electricity for two days. But we are trying to hold on.  ___ has to  come to visit us today and we shared food with her. The most terrible thing is that we don’t know what is really going on. We love you so much, we do hope everything is fine with you.”


“Good morning, son. It’s 8.20, March 4. We have survived another night. We hardly slept, they bombed ruthlessly. It seems to be quite close to us. It is such a scary thing if we die and leave you alone. But it is morning and we are alive, Thanks God, we still have gas. There is nothing else left. We love you a lot, take care of yourself, our dearest!”


“Son, it’s 9.33. We are fine. It’s 15 degrees Celsius in the apartment but we worked a bit and it made us warm. We are glad we have been thrifty! We have found a box of garlands with batteries and a flashlight. Now we have light! If our phones run out of batter, you  could try to call  the grandfather at 12.00 am and 9.00 pm, and we will switch them on at the time. Love you.”

photo by AP

“It’s a nightmare. I’m scared, scared of what can come tomorrow. I am afraid to go to sleep, I dread to think bombardment can happen and we will be in line to get water and unable to find cover tomorrow. There were looters. It was disgusting. They broke in stealing  everything from shops in  the first days. They kept looting and stealing. Bags with perfumes from ‘Brocard’ (the place was burnt down), fur coats from ‘Papa Carlo’, herring in food crates, sour cabbage in buckets, diapers. They looted our block of flats too, even that white-haired aunt Nina who feeds cats was there. It’s dreadful that we live next-door to these people! It happened because all police officers were on the frontlines. Your dad has heard streets can be patrolled again, those looters are now caught and had their pants taken down, making them go around showing their ____.  We love you so much! Your dad and I are kissing you, till tomorrow, our dearest!”


“Our dear son, hello! We are alive and our hell is still here. It’s March 10. We spent the night in the basement with  _.  We are so grateful to them for giving all four of us with a shelter. There was a terrible explosion yesterday, a plane shelled a maternity hospital. We were lying on a sofa in the living room at the time. An then they told on radio  it was a bomb which made a crater 10 meters wide. We bolted out, barefoot, just in socks, ran to the hallway. And then we wondered  if we had had such thing here, what could our grandmother have had ? Dad ran out and looked at their windows. They were gone, altogether with frames. In terror, we grabbed bandages and rushed to them. Fortunately, grandmother and _ were alive but in hysterics,  with bags at door of their aparment that was all in ruins. The explosion was so powerful that it destroyed all their windows, doors, glassed balcony with glass.  All that debris scattered around. Luckily, they are safe. We grabbed their bags and took them to our place, everybody was trembling of fear. Our houses have been left with black holes in place of windows.  Our mother’s neighbor had doors blown off in his a one-room apartment”.


“We went back to grab our things, whatever came to hand, got into the car and drove away. There was shattered glass and  explosions going off.  We spent a night here, in the basement, it is very cold, everyone was shivering, we slept on a piece of some poly-flam, with clothes on, covered with a thin blanket on the ground. We had taken a couple of blankets with us,  but it is not enough for four of us. And we took very little food, some cooked things. Our balcony is full of shattered glass. Today we were going  to go and get some food and clothes but we couldn’t do so because  planes keep flying and bombing.. We can’t cook anything, we are just staying in the basement. It’s horrible. Today, a rocket hit a nine-storey block nearby and  destroed the eighth floor. It’s freezing to sleep in the basement, dad is worried about his kidneys. We don’t know if we will survive. Take care of yourself, our dearest”.


“We have lots of potatoes but we can’t cook them, and there isn’t enough water. In the morning we drink peach juice to save up water. We listen to the news all the time and hope we will get help. We are not sorry about losing everything, we just want to survive. It’s freezing but we managed to bring a duvet and a fur coat from home and lie covered in them. We haven’t washed for two weeks, we wear layers of clothes, sleep in hats, fur coats, five sweaters and socks. We don’t talk much, but just listen to the news, some people play cards. We read a bit yesterday with the garland switched on. Time is dragging on, you are hardly drowsing. Yesterday dad helped _  to reinforce a door and windows on the third floor and I almost lost my mind waiting for him. I just want to survive and hug you, my dear. Yesterday _ hugged _, and I couldn’t help crying. But I am so happy you are not here with us. I really want you to live and be happy. We pray for bombardment to stop so that we could get a chance to hug our nearest and dearest. We love you so much! Take good care of yourself, you are most precious for us”.


“Hello, our son, our dearest. How are you? Are you all right? We are so worried about you, we hear you have had airstrikes too. We hope you are safe. We are still alive. It’s Monday, we are sitting in the basement. It’s getting worse and worse every day. Yesterday and the day before yesterday we took risk to run home and back but today we are even afraid to go to a toilet on the first floor. Quite far away from _ our troops set up artillery, the noise is petrifying and they are firing back. Fascist planes are flying. It’s a nightmare. We practically have no opportunity to cook food, it can be done outdoors near the garage but it is very dangerous. We are running out of water and everyone’s afraid to go and get some. We are eating little now, one small portion for two. Dad is hungry all the time”. “We were heavily shelled yesterday, we were running [home] and had to drop potatoes  while trying to hide in a building. It’s so frightening. When we ran back home, my hands were trembling and I cried for fear, for having no way out, and feeling sorry about our apartment. It is in a terrible condition, we have nowhere to go. All windows are shattered, frames are disfigured. Window glass in the kitchen got shattered and went through our microwave oven. My kitchen is all cut with glass. The glass is gone in the kitchen and on the balcony, the balcony door is gone, other frames still hold glass but they won’t close. Looters can now get in easily . It is almost impossible to do anything here, we just grabbed things and ran away. This is it. I can’t imagine what we would do but for _. It’s 0 degrees Celsius in the flat, we haven’t had water for 2 days and it is dangerous to queue for it, there is no wood to make a fire and few people are going out to cook as it is not safe.”


“Son, my dear! I’m writing to you from dad’s phone, mine is dead. It’s March 13, we are still alive. I haven’t written for a while as I’m trying to keep the charge of the battery. I have no idea what to tell you first. You know what horror we are living in. It looks that the city is almost destroyed. Apart from “Grady” , there are planes flying and bombing us. Our friends come to visit us and tell some news. Yesterday the bomb hit the central post office breaking it into two parts, there were people sheltering in the basement, it’s unclear if they have survived. There is nobody who could save them. Two times we risked our lives to  run to our place to get food and blankets. We even managed to drag two sacks of potatoes, a box of biscuits, tea and sweets. We are trying to reward for the shelter  in any way possible.”


“Son, my dear. It’s March 17, my phone turned out to have some charge left. We are still alive but many times we thought we were doomed . We are in hell. We are shelled with Grad missiles, dropped bombs on. There is not a single undamaged building. The whole city is on fire. We are afraid to leave the basement which is packed each night with people and children. We hardly get any sleep, we stand in a corner, one crowd, and say prayers. We are scared to death. Rear windows in our car were by explosion, and there is a crater behind it making it impossible to leave. We don’t know what can happen toomorrow, will we survive? God almighty, why are we to go though all this terror? We are praying the basement will save us. _ has to feed us all, poor thing, she is a saint. Portions are getting smaller and smaller. Dad is hungry all the time. We have to cook in the garage and we are so scared of the prospect. Windows and doors are damaged, dad and _ are trying to cover the holes up while artillery is pounding non-stop. It’s very cold in the basement, only + 5 and it is always dark. We are praying for you to be fine, to be happy. You will manage everything, for sure. We really want to believe that we will survive and meet one day. We love you so much! Take good care of yourself, our dearest!”

The news story says these people have been among a group of Mariupol residents who managed to flee the besieged city on March 18.