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Help Without Borders 12.05

In today’s instalment of Help Without Borders, TVP World’s guest in the studio is a girl who with her mother and sister managed to escape from the besieged Mariupol and we also interview Ukrainian volunteers who deliver the necessities to the frontline.

All of Mariupol is occupied by Russian invaders, except for the final Ukrainian stronghold in the Azovstal steel plant. The women and children whose relatives are trapped there made a heart-wrenching appeal to the international community to save the defenders.

Our guest at the studio was the 18-year-old Kateryna Kushnerenko, who managed to escape from the city with her mother and sister. Her father stayed behind and is trapped in Azovstal. Whenever he can, he sends them one short message via text: “I am alive”, giving his loved ones hope.

When the war began on February 24, Kateryna and her family were at home. Mariupol was one of the first city’s struck by Russian bombardment. In the first week, they hoped it would all be over soon, but that was not to be the case. For nine days they would have to go down to the basement to seek shelter, including three days between March 8 and 10, when they did not leave the cellar at all and had to subsist on little food and dirty water.

When they left their hiding place, they noticed strings of cars leaving the city but were wondering whether it is safe, as there was no information about any humanitarian corridors being set up. Finally, they contacted their uncle, who urged them to leave the city and go to Zaporizhzhia, under Ukrainian control. Having left on March 15, they managed to evade the blockades, but the journey which would normally take between 3 and 5 hours took 14 hours. At one point, they had to cross a minefield at night.

Asked about her home city, Kateryna says that before the war, Mariupol was a wonderful city with numerous festivals and beautiful architecture. Her heart breaks when she sees the images of her city reduced to rubble. Asked how she feels about the behaviour of the Russian soldiers, Kateryna says that because of the horrible things they have done in Mariupol, she cannot bring herself to see them as human. She said that the people around the world already know about Bucha, but they will be shocked when they see what the Russian did in Mariupol, about the destruction and the rapes.

TVP World’s correspondent Karolina Pajączkowska was in Lviv. She has visited “The Wall of Remembrance”, where people leave pictures and names of people, soldiers, and civilians alike, who were killed by Russians since the start of the war. The wall is adorned with thousands of flowers. Among those honoured there are not just Ukrainians: one of the victims of the Russian aggression was Oksana Belyna, a former associate of Aleksandr Navalny, who fled from Russia and died in a rocket attack in Kyiv.

The entire world has mobilised to help Ukrainians in their struggle by offering aid, but some Ukrainian volunteers sometimes take great risks to help their fellow compatriots. One such man is Ivan Mateush, who delivers aid to the soldiers on the frontline. The list of necessities is endless, from gear for the soldiers, through medicine and medical supplies, to fuel, the shortage which Ukraine now struggles with.

In his efforts, Ivan is supported by Taras Shcherbay, an attorney who works for the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office. He continues working in that capacity while combining it with working as a volunteer. Taras praised Ivan’s bravery, as he and other volunteers like him are trying to deliver aid and supplies as close to the fighting lines, and right to the frontline

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