Civilians who have managed to flee Mariupol in recent days have described the increasingly desperate situation inside the besieged city, including accounts of bodies buried in shallow graves, looting by Chechen fighters, and starving residents being killed when they venture out of shelters to find water.
The evacuee’s accounts are emerging as they reach the town of Zaporizhzhia which is acting as a hub for refugees.
They have risked journeys through Russian and Ukrainian lines that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) describes as an evacuation “from hell”.
Waiting inside one aid facility was Yuliia, her two daughters and her mother Tatiana. They finally managed to escape the city on Monday.
They said many of those with no choice but to remain in basements or wrecked apartment buildings are “the incapacitated” – a reference to elderly and disabled people.
Their family survived underground for a month as Tatiana rationed the only food they had.