Diary of War

3 March 2022

Day eight

Vesna [Mariupol]

The roof is on fire. The second stairwell of our building is, too.We need to get out.

It’s freezing outside and windy. One of my neighbours says it’s -6 degrees.. Aleksey’s bag has a first aid kit, and he uses some eye drops to clear out the smoke from our eyes. We wash off the ashes in a puddle of melted snow on the street. It’s the first time I’ve been out of the house in a week and there are dead bodies everywhere.

A man is loading up his car. His partner is dragging possessions onto the street—I’m not sure if these are his or if they’re looting.

An older woman holds onto the wall of a building, shuffling forward. She can barely walk. I freeze and think about what will happen to her. Someone tugs my sleeve—we can’t stop. There’s smoke and shelling and we need to find a place to hide. We hold hands so we don’t lose each other.