“Mommy, I don't want to die!” A diary from hell

“Mommy, I don't want to die!” A diary from hell

“My neighbour said that God had left Mariupol. He became afraid of everything he saw.”

I know Nadiya Sukhorukova for so long. It’s hard to say for how many years. Probably, as long as she has been in journalism (although she has been in this profession even longer). Nadiya always worked on TV. It seems to me that no one in our city could tell people’s stories better than she did, at least on TV. Because Kindness is the other name of Nadiya [Hope]. And this warmth was felt in every story she did.

For some reason, Nadiya thought she was a TV woman. However, she was very wrong about herself, because texts she wrote under permanent shelling in Mariupol are the strongest I’ve ever read about this bloody war. Her simple words break you from inside stronger than an aircraft bomb.

I hope, when the war is over, her diary will turn into a book. Or, maybe, even more than one.

Well, for now I ask everyone who wants to understand what is happening in Mariupol to read the Diary of Nadiya, the Hope of Mariupol.

With the infinite respect to the author,

Anna Romanenko, editor of 0629.com.ua website.

24 February

Anya from Odessa, Alena from Kramatorsk, Natalia from Kharkiv, Halyna from Irpen. We went to bed in a restless but relatively peaceful life, and we were awakened by the war.

It doesn't matter what dreams we had or what happened a minute before we woke up. The main thing was an instantaneous transition during that still dark dawn from plans and hopes into the abyss of fear and despair. It's as if you've been through into the icy cold in the middle of the warm summer.

I heard bangs and explosions in my sleep. It has been impossible to get used to this in eight years, but the fear, like an old pain, has dulled. And then editor Halyna sent a message to the general group: "Everybody, wake up!".

It became clear that something terrible had begun around us. It grew to the sky. Blind iron death flew from there like an acid rain. It was brought by the most vile and vicious dwarf: a dictator, a cynical and insane murderer and maniac. He has already been cursed by millions of people, and dozens of times more people will repeat them later like an echo.

It is very scary to be inside a war. People become like children who got lost in a gloomy forest. A day ago, an adult woman in a small village near Mariupol cried like a child over a destroyed house and her miraculous rescue. The one who fired this projectile at her is a murderer as well. He just doesn't see his victim, but the essence of this does not change.

In the morning, my brother's wife gathered my little nephews to the sounds of shelling. They were afraid and tried to be capricious. The children sat in the corridor on stools in jackets and hats with huge bags in their hands. These are their "go-bags". The kindest dog in the world sat at their feet, and it was very scared too. Together they left a huge multi-storey apartment building to the basement of a private house. It's safer there during shelling. They are afraid to return home.

We monitored summaries and rejoiced at each small victory of our soldiers. We listened to battle at the long distance and mentally tried to help the best army in the world, which is fair and brave, strong and bright. They sent them rays of hope, faith and goodness.

We also talked in a common chat with each other. There was a roll call every hour. As in the dark, we groped for close people: "Kharkiv, how are you? Odesa, Kramatorsk, Severodonetsk, Kherson, Mariupol? How are you?"

We were scared, we are scared now too, but we manage this fear and throw it far into space, into a black hole. Similarly, we will drive aggressive and vile invaders out of our land. They don't even imagine how strong we are.

25 February

Mariupol is invincible. Nothing and no one can defeat it. We are not afraid of tanks, Grad MLRS or shellings. We are extraordinary, amazing, unexpected and positive. We have so much courage and firmness that life itself protects us.

Imagine, I scroll through the news feed. Of course, everything is very sad there; it is complete gloom. This is understandable. Terrible things are happening in our country and in our city... Suddenly, I come across a post that warms the soul, and there is confidence that everything will be fine. "All cucumber seeds came up. I will take care of them," Serhiy Holubkov wrote.

We will definitely win, spring will come and cucumbers will appear. Ordinary, green cucumbers. Smelling with freshness and grass. Because despite the war and all this horror, sprouts in tiny pots came up on the windowsill of a Mariupol resident named Serhiy. And he admires them very much, so he posted a photo of these beauties.

26 February

When we will live through all this, I shall definitely write about how scary it is to live inside a war. I shall write about different people and situations, about how everything changes in an instant and everything unimportant decreases to microscopic proportions.

The main things remain. It turns out that there are not so many main things.Your life, the lives of loved ones, friends, people around you. Your house being intact, that your city not shelled by rocket artillery, that your country is not tormented or tortured.

It turns out there can be no long plans. You need to live only in the moment. Planning for tomorrow is a great luxury. Everything is wonderful not when you have a luxury phone, you went to a cool resort or bought a new apartment. It turns out that all this also does not matter. As well as the amount of money, praise at work and the number of likes on Facebook.

Probably, I had to guess about it earlier, and just live. Enjoy every day and every second. Enjoy just silence and security. However, all the time, there was always something we needed, something that did not suit us, something we did not like. I wanted more. I wanted perfect happiness. It turns out I had it just a few days ago.

We are strong. We will endure it. We became even stronger because of the vile tyrant. We united to win. I know how much beautiful Lviv resident Yulia worries about Mariupol and residents of Mariupol, how Natalia from Dnipro holds her fingers crossed for each of us, how I read summaries in Kyiv and rejoice of every victory of our army.

Unusually, our TV channels united themselves: we are not competitors, we are fighters of one army. Surprisingly, there is no ideology other than the ideology of devotion to Ukraine and the expectation of victory. Time stretched millions of times. It seems that it all started not on 24 February, but insanely long ago. Although, for us it really started a long time ago.

I still have something to write about and something to say. I really want tomorrow to be a really good morning. For all of us, and for Ukraine.

27 February

When it is very scary, you should do something. So my friend, a psychotherapist, advises. During an air raid, she washes the floor at the entrance. She washed it three times already. Currently, there are sterile floors there, and she overcame her fear.

I write during the shelling. I write some nonsense, because nothing comes to mind and it turns out rubbish. I'm scared. I count the explosions, listen to the rumble and write. During breaks, I look at the cat and the dog. They solve problems with fear fundamentally.

Angie falls to the floor and falls asleep, and the cat lies on his back and just listens. His face says: "Russian bombs, fly the f*ck off." I think my cat is a real patriot. He will tear down any occupier.

Many thanks to everyone who gives the air raid warning. Now we know exactly when to go out into the common corridor. And we calmly take out the chairs there, take out the dog and catch the partisan cat. This red-haired bastard has distracted me from the panic attack twice today.

The first time I tried to hold him in my arms, he hissed at me and wanted to grab my face with his paw. The second time he ran away from me on the beds during the explosions, hid under the table and screamed wildly, when I, saving cat's life, desperately pulled him by his tail from under the sofa to push into a safe common corridor.

Cat Joseph went wild from such treatment and now treats me like a half-wit. He walks sideways, jerks his tail, looking at me from a far corner. When I approach, he jumps on all fours and runs away with the roar of a lion.

We have no shelter in the house, and other shelters are very far away. We just don't have time to get there. Therefore, during the shelling, the common corridor turns into a Noah's ark. A cat, two dogs, a guinea pig (a local favourite), and a bold hamster spend a terrible time together with people. The hamster annoys our cat and dog just with its looks.

There is absolute unity in the corridor, even among those neighbours who could not stand each other before. Complete understanding among those who were outraged that animals shit on the street. Now they don't care. Our Ukrainian cats and dogs are just perfect.

The vile dwarf managed to unite everyone. He achieved amazing results in just four days. People felt like a completely united nation. Thanks to him for that. And in the rest: "F*ck you Russian freak". And everything will be Ukraine!

1 March

We have no light, communications are periodically interrupted. There is no Kyivstar signal at all, the charge on the cell phone depletes. The shelling does not stop.

Vile occupiers tired us to hell. What obsessive creatures they are, after all. They are sent to f*ck themselves in every city. They were sent already several times and still go like cockroaches.

Mariupol is beautiful! Because it is strong and brave. The best warriors in the world are fighting for it.

Ordinary people, workers of utility companies, fix under fire what Russian occupiers are destroying and smashing. Our utility company workers just work, because it is necessary for the city to survive.

I hate this Russian dickass. I didn't know I could hate someone like that. These bastards do not live and do not allow others to live. I hope that our universal human curse will be heard by the Universe and it will fall in an avalanche on the heads of these freaks. Yes, let Putin die. This is my cherished dream. If you really want something, it will definitely come true. And I want it insanely. I suggest everyone wants this.

Something positive. We walked with the dog under shellings and took pictures of my mother's snowdrops in the yard. Spring has come. Admire, darlings! Everything will be Ukraine!

2 March

Under the shelling, it is somehow not very easy to arrange one's life. You listen to each sound and divide them into joyful and scary.

Earlier, for example, I was very angry when the neighbours upstairs arranged dances and songs of the peoples of the world after eleven o'clock. Now I love their every step over my head. They stamp like medium-sized ponies.

But I'm not angry. On the contrary, I'm happy. They are my neighbours. They did not leave my dear Mariupol.They are here with me. It is not easy for them, but they are strong and real. And let them stamp as much as they want. Let them rearrange the furniture around the clock. The main thing that matters is that they are fine.

And there is the sound of dear voices that you hear on the phone. It's so important to ask, "How are you?" One of my acquaintances always answers, "Like the whole city." My friend assures "We will not shit ourselves", and reports that she is now waiting in the corridor for the shelling to stop. I feel calmer because I'm in the corridor too, and we're kind of together.

I try to walk the dog until curfew and between shellings. However, it is never possible to take a walk in the period of calm. As we go down from our fifth floor without an elevator, we start to hear loud explosions. I almost forgot to say that I always cross myself before leaving. Because I'm a little scared.

Angie and I fly to our favourite clearing to the disgusting sounds. You can't confuse them with anything. The impression that they are hitting the iron roof with a huge hammer, or, if MLRS are incoming, then there is a feeling that a huge killer train is approaching, which shakes the earth and freezes the blood in the veins.

Angie and I know what's going on. Damned Russian occupiers kill my beloved city. We hate them and wish them death. I don't know how to explain to the dog why the hell they came to us and why they kill Ukrainian people.

Angie guesses that the sounds we hear during the walk are the sounds of death. So it does everything fast. My job then is to collect the poop and throw it in the trash. War is not a reason to dirty my city. He is already tainted with shells by vile scum from a neighbouring country.

I also love the sounds of rain and the sounds of hope. This is when someone brings good news. "Our troops destroyed a whole column of tanks, you know? They shot down a plane that bombed Sartana four times." And there are sounds of confidence that we will win. When they shout to murderers in every city that they are freaks and that the cities they came to belong to Ukraine. Nobody invited them here. They are not wanted here. And then they throw themselves at the tanks with their bare hands and do not let the infantry fighting vehicles into their village.

Yes, it is hard for us and we are scared, but it is even more difficult to orcs. Their heads are covered with such hatred, such curses that can kill without weapons and shells.

Why did you make us angry, poorly prepared kamikaze?

Additional on 2 March

I want to sleep all the time. Constantly. It was as if a sleepy elephant had possessed me. I nod off even during terrible shellings. I sit calmly and count explosions.

This is probably how my body reacts to danger. It freezes. I do everything on autopilot. I command the dog, grab the cat and run down the hall. The cat has already come to terms with his fate of being captured and taken out into the corridor. Yosya doesn't even resist. It only meows indignantly, but does not break out as before.

I don't want to eat. Absolutely. Nothing just comes down by throat. When I tried to lose weight on a diet, it was a hellish effort. Nothing worked. I dreamed about food at night. The body demanded a meal every hour.

Now, I make myself eat something with difficulty, just to have strength. For some reason I don't want to drink either. I turned into a camel. I move slowly like a ship of the desert, chew a thorn for a long time and rarely drink. I think my internal fat stores are working now.

Today I met my little nephews. They came from the building next door that is safer than my mother's nine-story building because there is a shelter. Only when I saw these children I realized how much I missed them.

Joyful Kirill shouts and runs, as if nothing had happened. During shelling, he confidently goes to a safe place with a blanket and pillow. Children already know how to act better than me.

Varya is worried about her studies. Her teacher sends her assignments, but she has not done everything yet. We have to take a break and go down to the basement. She is reading a book about some blogger girl. She has read eighteen pages, and there are more than two hundred to go. Light is often cut off due to shelling, so Varya has to use a flashlight.

Today, the children slept in the basement. It's very cold and dark there. But we hear almost no sound of Mariupol being showered with Grad and Smerch MLRS.

I can't understand who these scums are fighting with? With children, women, newborns, doctors, patients? Why do these goblins hit schools, kindergartens, hospitals, maternity hospitals? They have turned into child killers and terrorists.

Russian jerks, our children are dying, their parents want to reach you to strangle you with their bare hands. What have you forgotten on our soil? Probably, your death.

I dream that these brutal shellings will stop and my beautiful city will wake up from a nightmare. But my most cherished desire is one. I repeat it every day like a spell: #путинсдохнипрямосейчас (Putindierightnow).

Another record on March 2

It's very scary when you can't call your family. War does not allow us. I'm in Mariupol. Kyivstar cell operator has not been working here since the morning. They fired from weapons of various calibres, mostly large ones. Those in other cities go crazy of fear for their loved ones. Relatives cannot explain to them that this is due to communication interruptions.

I have a phone with two SIM cards, one is still working. The electricity is out, there is no water, no heat supply either. There is dead silence in Mariupol. The city seems to be hiding. Raindrops are pounding on the windowsill.

I don't want to think about bad things. Everything will definitely be fine. For us. For Mariupol. For Ukraine. Do you know what is interesting? Now, when it's scary and hard, I'm writing. So, does it turn out that that it is my thing? It's a pity I didn't understand this before. I lost so much time in vain. I promise that if the morning will be good, I will dedicate my life to this activity. One hundred percent. I hope there will be morning, and there will be books.

I wanted to say that I somehow started to perceive jokes and empty conversations poorly. I want to be silent and listen to my thoughts. Those thoughts are scared, like those of a little girl who got lost in a dark maze and can't get out of there.

There was such a night, it seems ... or similar one. Without light, communication and in silence. Then it became easier, because in some part of the city the lights turned on, we learned about it and exhaled.

Lack of information and communicationis currently the most difficult thing. As if our votes and posts can really help.

Seven or eight days of war changed our whole lives. It is now moving according to the laws of wartime. And every day counts for a year. It is unbelievable that it used to be different.

We definitely need to look in the morning. Pray for us and believe that our morning will be good. The darkest hours are usually before dawn.

18 March

My neighbour said that God had left Mariupol. He became scared of everything he saw. She said this a week ago, and the day before yesterday, just before our departure, she ran to our basement compartment to tell us that the house through one from ours was on fire. "There are some weird orange flames there," she said. "I've never seen such a thing. Pray, girls."

We did not know then that in half an hour we would leave this city and this reality. We sat and prayed. I read Our Father and for some reason could not recollect the words. My husband taught me this prayer. I haven't seen him since the beginning of the war. I feel guilty towards him, because I went to visit my mother, and then could not come to him. I really want to hear his voice. I want another little chance to say the most important words, which for some reason I did not speak while there was a connection.

Every day in Mariupol we expected everything to improve. We believed that the war was about to end and everything would be the same. Just a week ago we occasionally went outside. One day, between the bombings, we went to the Red Cross to Torhova Street. My friend's daughter recently gave birth to a son. They named him Nikita and he lived in the basement. We hardly took him outside because of the bombings and the week-old child did not see the sun at all.

For his sake, we drove in a friend's car with the inscription "Children". This inscription did not protect from anything. On the way we met the same car, with the same inscription, only broken and burned. It was hit by a shell and was standing in the right lane. It was very scary to drive. However, some houses were still intact. The maternity hospital has not been destroyed yet, my colleague's husband has not died and lonely pedestrians were walking the streets in our district.

The street we came to was no more. There were ruins. There was a huge hole instead of a big store. Every building down from it was damaged. I did not recognize this part of the city. People who dismantled the debris said that an air bomb had fallen here the day before. The boys from the Red Cross were collecting pieces of glass. The girl was surprisingly calm.To my question "How are you?", she answered "Everything is fine" and smiled. It was so weird. We haven't smiled for many days.

There were no baby mixtures or diapers. We were told that they had been transferred to the maternity hospital. We decided to go there tomorrow. The friend's daughter said that the head of the department is an amazing person. He, his doctors and nurses lived there 24/7, and never went home. Firstly, it was dangerous, and secondly, there was no replacement. And women gave birth without light and water, in a cold delivery room and under bombing. When the department ran out of food, the doctors began to give their supplies to the women. Everything they had. The chief doctor brought cheese and sausage sandwiches. There was no bread. There was simply nowhere to buy it. Nothing could be bought at all. At first the shops were closed, then they were robbed.

There were no pharmacies. They were also robbed. I became short of my heart pills, and a harsh alternative loomed ahead,to die from a shell or from cardiac arrest. I didn't really like both options. An unfamiliar woman, a neighbour of our friends, helped me. It seems her name is Lena. She gave away some of her medicine. For free.

When the people ran out of water, it snowed, then it rained. My mom said, "Nature helps us." The shooting in our area was not so intense then, and two categories of neighbours gathered near the entrances. Some were cooking on the fire, others were standing under the drainpipes with buckets.

We were still talking to each other then. And I learned that water from Horvodokanal water supply company is brought to the corner of one of the streets every day. An ordinary Mariupol resident carries it in a huge barrel on his own initiative. He comes every day and then stands under fire and fills people's cylinders with free drinking water. People periodically run away from there, when the shelling is heavy and it becomes dangerous, they swear at each other for a place in the queue, and the water carrier silently fills their cylinders.

I don't know the man's name, and I hope he gets out of this hell alive. Because I really want him to read these lines and hear my thanks, which I did not have time to say to him then.

19 March

If we hadn't left this morning, we would be dead. At least, I would be, for sure. There were fewer people in our basement. They left. There were rumours that many escaped from these circles of hell. But these were rumours. No one could check them. Our basement neighbours disappeared one by one. As soon as someone found gasoline or friends with a car. No one said goodbye, no one collected things. Just dropped everything and ran to the exit.

By that night, more than half of the basement compartments were empty. Our neighbours were also going to leave. They were stopped by bombings. The planes flew every half hour. I think there were several of them. Because they used to drop two bombs each. And now the ground shook four, sometimes six times in five minutes. We were bombed with all their force, as if they wanted to bury every house, every tree in the ground, to trample every soul into a huge shell-hole.

We have not slept for several days. Rather, our condition could be called half-asleep. Day merged with night, eyes kept sticking together, but the body was alert. According to the theory of probability, our house would be hit soon. They have already hit all the high-rise buildings around. Some of them were half destroyed.

I didn't know if there were people in the basements. And if they are there, how do they feel? I felt almost nothing. It seemed to me that there was really nothing, that I have a hellish nightmare. I need to wake up. Soon I will open my eyes in my bed and go wash and drink tea.

And then the giant thundered with iron. He walked my land again. This sound before the shelling drove me crazy. It was as if they were moving something metal, huge and scary. What could it be?

My mind went blank. I was afraid to move. I sat on a chair, staring bluntly at the concrete floor with the broken off plaster, and thought it was forever. I didn't care anymore. I wanted it to end sooner. There was no toilet in the basement. Everyone went to their apartment. I needed to go up to the fifth floor. I couldn't bring myself to move. It was necessary to get out of the basement and get to the entrance. I no longer had the courage to do so.

My little nephews lay on other people's mattresses, covered with blankets from different compartments, in jackets, hats, scarves and shoes. A family of Azerbaijanis stayed here before us. They have 11 children. They left the city a week ago. They say they arrived in a safe place. The information came from another basement, when our neighbour in the compartment risked going outside to warm the water on the fire. Then there was a little respite. They didn't bomb for whole fifteen minutes.

I felt insanely sorry for the children. They hardly talked. Nobody talked. We listened to the planes. They flew very close and dropped endless bombs.

The ground sagged, the house shook, someone in the basement screamed in fear. I was even afraid to imagine what was going on outside. It seemed to me that the house was in the centre, and shells were exploding around. Everything was in shell holes and shards. When I saw what was left of our yard in the morning, I had no emotion. I just stood and watched. This was not my city.

According to volunteers, from 20,000 and 40,000 people left the city. Currently, about 300,000 citizens remain in Mariupol. Their killing continues. Please tell the whole world about it. People want to live.

20 March

Do you know how scary it is to leave now even for a few minutes? I repeat to myself that I am no longer in hell, but I continue to hear the roar of planes, startle at any loud sound and pull my head into my shoulders. I'm scared when someone leaves. Not all those left to this hell returned. Until the house of our acquaintances was bombed, many people gathered there. Many ran between the shelling and reported what they saw on other streets.

Anya, the fragile girl from the fifteen floor building came every day. Her parents lived near the school on Kirov Street and she was very worried about them. She could not move them to her place. For them, the distance of two stops was impassable. Her apartment is under the roof. The planes that bombed the city seemed to be circling over the attic itself.

Every day Anya went to her parents under shellings. Mines whistled around and exploded next to her. She fell to the ground and covered her head with her hands. She was very scared. The road was not very long for peacetime, but during the bombing it was almost impassable. Anna walked on it twice, back and forth, and saw how everything changed. Even yesterday, whole houses became ruins overnight. They stood pierced through with black eye sockets of burnt-out windows.

I considered her a hero. She visited her parents and came to be building on OsipenkoStreet to exhale before returning to her apartment. She drank water, stood in the doorway and was silent. Sometimes she brought precious diapers or cream for week-old Nikita. The baby lived in the basement of this house after his birth. He looked like a yellow chicken. He was catastrophically short of sun.

Every day Anya changed, as did the city. It became more transparent, and the dark circles around the eyes became bigger and bigger. Anya did not eat anything. She said: "I can't squeeze anything in, it doesn't get in." She did not say what she saw during her walks. There were many children with us and Anya did not want to scare anyone.

When they started shelling our district non- stop, I started going to my parents every few days. I thought she was so fragile and transparent that the shell fragments just didn't touch her. After the shell hit the house of our acquaintances and we moved to another basement, we never saw her again. She is still in Mariupol. She doesn't have a car, there are old parents and a few cats.

On 11 March, my friend's husband died. The day before, they came to us and dreamed of meeting after the war. Vitya, my friend's husband, a camera man from God, but a silent person, firmly promised this time that we will definitely meet after the victory. And then he didn't keep his word.

A day later, when everything was thundering and clattering, as if a giant glass had been cut with an iron saw, the plane was buzzing nearby, the children were in the basement, and the adults were lying on a long sofa and covering their heads with pillows. I also closed my eyes. I still do not understand why. It seemed to me that the pillow would save me from the bomb. At that moment, 13-year-old Sasha ran into the house. He shouted: "I'm Sasha! It just hit our house. It is terrible." We asked, "Where is Mom, is everyone's alive?" He replied that everybody were OK, just Dad was under rubble, and Mom was digging him up.

Then it turned out that Dad was under rubble forever. The best camera man, a very bright man, a loving father and husband, calm and kind, was lying with a broken head and unnaturally bent leg in his own apartment on the ninth floor. We could not bury him or get him out. A few days later, the whole section of the building burned down along with Vitya. There was a direct hit in the house again.

There, in Mariupol, much was not important. We ate from the same plate so as not to waste water on washing, slept on mattresses all together, it was warmer this way. We wore hats and rushed to each person we met to find out the news from the next yard. We forgot that there were shops, that you can turn on the TV, chat on social networks, take a shower or sleep in a real bed.

Today it became known that less than 40,000 people left the city during the blockade. Hundreds of thousands of people are still there in hell. It is becoming more and more difficult for them to survive every day. Please help them. Tell the truth about my city.

Nadiya Sukhorukova


Sign up for our free newsletter skorik@ukrinform.com.

Let’s get started read our news at facebook messenger > > > Click here for subscribe

While citing and using any materials on the Internet, links to the website ukrinform.net not lower than the first paragraph are mandatory. In addition, citing the translated materials of foreign media outlets is possible only if there is a link to the website ukrinform.net and to the website of a foreign media outlet. Citing and using materials in offline media, mobile apps, Smart TV are allowed only with written permission from Ukrinform. News and publications marked as "Advertisement" and "PR" and articles in the section "Releases" include promoted content, and an advertiser is responsible for the content.

© 2015-2023 Ukrinform. All rights reserved.

Website design Studio Laconica

Extended searchHide extended search
By period: