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Might 15, 2022 Russia-Ukraine information

Yulia Bondarenko travels in a convoy of drivers trying to leave Kherson, Ukraine. 
Yulia Bondarenko travels in a convoy of drivers making an attempt to go away Kherson, Ukraine.  (Courtesy Yulia Bondarenko)

Day by day, lots of and even hundreds of persons are making an attempt to flee the Russian-occupied area of Kherson in southern Ukraine, gathering up no matter they will cram into their automobiles, and even piling onto tractors.

And on daily basis, they run right into a gauntlet of harassment and worse from Russian troops. 

They’re leaving for a lot of causes: to keep away from being detained or to flee the heavy-handed actions of Russian forces, or due to the continual shortages of drugs and different fundamentals in Kherson, which fell below Russian management quickly after the invasion. 

One of many practically 5,000 folks making an attempt to go away was Arkadiy, who had been beforehand detained by the occupying forces. CNN is just not publishing his final identify for his security.

Final week, he was part of a convoy of no fewer than 1,000 automobiles making an attempt to go away Kherson. The Russians in the end let the convoy transfer in batches — however solely after holding it in a single place for many of the day. 

“For me, this was already the fifth try to go away the managed territory. The earlier 4 occasions it didn’t work out,” he instructed CNN. “What stunned me was that instantly Russians allow us to undergo checkpoint with none examination.”

He had heard tales of in depth checks, telephones being examined and property stolen. 

Yulia Bondarenko was additionally within the convoy, and she or he additionally anticipated the Russians to take issues.

“Evacuated folks find out about this from Telegram chats and don’t even take something priceless with them,” she mentioned. “Russians nearly all the time ask for cigarettes and lighters.”

Electronics have been typically confiscated too — power-banks and reminiscence playing cards, for instance. However “smartphones are usually not taken away by Russians,” Bondarenko mentioned. “Though they’re intently inspected: they test messages and photograph galleries.”

Bondarenko mentioned that others had instructed her the Russians would typically power folks to take off their garments as a result of they “are on the lookout for tattoos of nationalist content material. Everyone seems to be nicely conscious of this and it’s unlikely that nationalists with tattoos will attempt to depart the area this manner, it’s a very large danger.”

The convoy leaving Beryslav had some 200 automobiles — one minibus for a dozen folks have been full of double that quantity, Arkadiy mentioned.

The journey was by open, flat countryside on minor roads. However simply after it handed the ultimate Russian checkpoint the column of some 200 automobiles got here below fireplace close to a spot referred to as Davydiv Brid, the place Russian management ends. 

Arkadiy mentioned two shells landed concurrently. Automobiles forward of him have been peppered with shrapnel – tires shredded and windshields shattered. Seven or eight automobiles have been badly broken however bushes along with the highway absorbed a number of the impression.

“Everybody instantly started to cover behind the automobiles. Everybody was scared, folks with youngsters of their arms. The kids screamed, even the lads have been panicking.”

Yulia Bondarenko was in the identical convoy. She additionally instructed CNN that they’d simply cleared the final Russian checkpoint. “Folks began working and hiding. However we stayed within the automobile, we had a whole lot of animals. We could not take all of them out without delay.”

Yulia’s menagerie included canines, cats and two meerkats that have been rescued after a petting zoo in Kherson was shelled.

Yulia Bondarenko travelled with dogs, cats and two meerkats that were recused after a petting zoo in Kherson was shelled.
Yulia Bondarenko travelled with canines, cats and two meerkats that have been recused after a petting zoo in Kherson was shelled. (Courtesy Yulia Bondarenko)

It is nonetheless unclear the place the shelling got here from. Oleksandr Vilkul, head of the Kryvyi Rih navy administration, mentioned on Thursday that Russian artillery had fired on the column and two folks had acquired shrapnel wounds.

Others have associated equally harrowing escapes from Kherson. Katerina Torgunova lived along with her husband and three-year outdated daughter within the city of Oleshky.

The day they left, she mentioned, “We handed the primary two checkpoints comparatively calmly, and on the third checkpoint we had enormous issues. The Russians began firing flash flares into the air as we approached them.”

“Then we have been pulled out of the automobile, they began to curse us. My husband was searched for a very long time.”

Others communicate of being on the highway for 2 days looking for a method out of Kherson.

Julia Kartuzova and her two youngsters needed to sleep in a single day in a kindergarten as they tried to search out an escape route.

Then got here what she and others name the ‘gray zone’ — the no-man’s land between Russian and Ukrainian management. “There are fights occurring. It was very harmful there, as a result of the shells fell proper there, 100 meters from our automobile.”

“We misplaced rely of what number of checkpoints we needed to undergo. There should have been greater than 100 in whole.”

Arkadiy says the principle routes out of Kherson to Mykolaiv, which remains to be in Ukrainian palms, are closely broken and infrequently impassable.

Hennadii Lahuta, head of the Kherson regional navy administration, says the Russians haven’t authorized a single evacuation hall from Kherson because the starting of the occupation. For per week originally of Might, Lahuta mentioned, the Russians had blocked the route taken by Arkadiy and others. 

On Might 11, the Russians allowed folks to make use of that route once more, which explains the sudden mass exodus.

This text was initially revealed by Learn the unique article right here.

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