Near Azovstal, people say they find it hard to get used to the silence

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In the Donbass region, which has been partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, the situation has become ” harder and harder “For the Ukrainian defenders of Lugansk, one of the two areas of this coal basin, in particular, in Severodonetsk, was bombarded” 24 hours on 24 hours ”, according to the Ukrainian governor Sergeych Gaidich. All Russian and pro-Russian forces are concentrated in this region. The soldiers almost left Mariupol, where our special correspondent went again.

From our special correspondent in Mariupol,

From now on, on the roads to Mariupol, when you come from the capital of the breakaway republic of Donetsk, there are fewer checkpoints. If you still need a special permit to enter the city, the power is no longer in the hands of the military. He was taken to the police. A central police station and other branches have now been established in the neighbourhoods.

Almost the entire city is accessible, with the exception of the Azovstal plant and its surroundings. It is now in the hands of demining experts. Hardly the last of the Ukrainian soldiers left, a few days before, work began. On the other side of the factory lives this former mechanic from Azovstal. For him, it would be necessary to live a long time with mine explosions.

It will take a long time to clean everything, since there are many corridors and tunnels … I worked there for 40 years, I worked in this Azovstal. There are many things. You can’t do this in a week or even a month. You have to dig there for at least six months, because there are underground passages, pipelines, oil tunnels, everything! It will take a long time. It’s just a pile of rubbish. There is nothing left there. Pipelines are destroyed, everything is destroyed. It’s scary to go there. Now you can step on anything: shells, mines, corpses. Tunnels and underground passages up to a height of at least twenty meters perhaps. After so many months of fighting, you have to expect everything out there. I think it’s over, it’s impossible to get it back. You will have to spend a lot of money on it. And anyway, where will you find the people who work there? People are dead or gone, and the factory cannot function without professionals, and again, without a lot of money.

Houses in the neighborhood opposite the Azovstal plant. © RFI / Anisa Al Jabri

In this neighborhood where residents say they still have difficulty getting used to the silence, one wonders how he works, how he gets income and above all where he lives. Here more than anywhere else, the devastation is great. Some homes are nothing more than tangled sheets of metal and rubble. In the light of spring, that nagging question: But how will you spend the coming winter?

► Read again: the city of Mariupol, from the mineral industry to coastal tourism ?

In connection with the Azovstal soldiers, the healthy were immediately put behind bars. The wounded were taken for treatment in a hospital along the coast in Novoazovsk. Only a few images have been leaked from the Ministry of Defense. On Monday evening, confirmation from Rosgvardia, the Russian National Guard: All of them are now placed in detention centers.

Houses in the neighborhood opposite the Azovstal plant.
Houses in the neighborhood opposite the Azovstal plant. © RFI / Anisa Al Jabri

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, since May 16, 2,439 Ukrainian soldiers and personnel of the Azov Regiment have surrendered. their future? The leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic had said on Saturday. But some are already talking about exchange. That was the case last Saturday, but Denis Pushlin, in the middle of the day, on Russian television, specified:

These prisoners are currently being held on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic. In the future, it is planned to hold an international court. The relevant documents are being prepared, the court system is being drawn up. There may be intermediate courts, as happened after the Great Patriotic War.

According to Interfax, on Monday evening, the first trial of the surrendered soldiers will take place in Mariupol. Others are planned elsewhere.

Read again: In Mariupol on May 9, we also celebrated the independence of the breakaway Republic of Donetsk

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