Mariupol evacuee recounts heart-stopping terror in the bunkers of Azovstal


BEZIMENNE, Ukraine (Reuters) – Cowering in the labyrinth of Soviet-era bunkers far beneath the huge Azovstal metal works, Natalia Usmanova felt her coronary heart would cease she was so terrified as Russian bombs rained down on Mariupol, sprinkling her with concrete mud.

Usmanova, 37, spoke to Reuters on Sunday after being evacuated from the plant, a sprawling advanced based below Josef Stalin and designed with a subterranean community of bunkers and tunnels to face up to assault.

“I feared that the bunker wouldn’t face up to it – I had horrible concern,” Usmanova mentioned, describing the time sheltering underground.

“When the bunker began to shake, I used to be hysterical, my husband can vouch for that: I used to be so apprehensive the bunker would cave in.”

“We did not see the solar for thus lengthy,” she mentioned, talking in the village of Bezimenne in an space of Donetsk below the management of Russia-backed separatists round 30 km (20 miles) east of Mariupol.

She recalled the lack of oxygen in the shelters and the concern that had gripped the lives of individuals hunkered down there.

Usmanova was amongst dozens of civilians evacuated from the plant in Mariupol, a southern port metropolis that has been besieged by Russian forces for weeks and left a wasteland.

Usmanova mentioned she joked along with her husband on the bus journey out, in a convoy agreed by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), that they’d not should go to the toilet with a torch.

“You simply cannot think about what we have now been by way of – the terror,” Usmanova mentioned. “I lived there, labored there all my life, however what we noticed there was simply horrible.”

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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