Conflicts & War

Ukraine caught between siege, resistance and relative normality

By Sara Gomez Armas

Lviv, Mar 24 (EFE).- On the one-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion, Ukraine faces an uneven situation: a semblance of normality in western cities such as Lviv, a brutal siege in Mariupol, and resistance in Kyiv.

Fierce fighting has been taking place in the eastern part of the country. In recent hours, the Ukrainian army has detected an increase in the Russian military operation in the capital Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Chernihiv, as well as the strategic southern port city of Odesa.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday called on the world to stand up to stop the war in an appeal for more support one month into the war that left over 10 million people displaced and thousands of others killed.

“Come to your squares, your streets. Make yourselves visible and heard.

“Say that people matter. Freedom matters. Peace matters. Ukraine matters.

“The world must stop the war. I thank everyone who acts in support of Ukraine, in support of freedom, but the war continues. The acts of terror against peaceful people go on. One month already! That long.”

In Kyiv, the Ukrainian military has put more pressure on Russian troops, who are reportedly facing supply and morale problems, according to the British defense ministry.

Russian journalist Oksana Baulina, who worked for the Insider, was killed alongside a civilian after a shopping center in a district in Kyiv was bombed Wednesday night. So far, seven journalists have been killed during the war.

In Kharkiv, six people were killed and 15 others injured in a Russian strike, regional governor Oleg Sinegubov wrote in a Telegram post.

Russian troops fired long-range weapons at Akademika Pavlova street, where residents receive humanitarian aid, according to the post.

On the coast of the Sea of Azov, Russian units continued their siege on Mariupol, leaving 100,000 people locked in shelters amid constant bombardment.

The eastern city’s mayor estimates that more than 3,000 civilians have been killed there.

“It is very dangerous now in Mariupol. People there have nothing, they have no home, they have no water, food, electricity, or internet. Nothing,” says Alla, who managed to get to Lviv by train on Thursday.

While Lviv is turning into a refuge for thousands of Ukrainians, the 32-year-old hopes to get another train ticket that will take her outside the country, along with her daughter and dog.

In Mariupol, Alla has left her older parents and her husband, who cannot leave the country because he might be called to fight.

They are “hunkered down in basements because the attacks do not stop without any contact with the outside. I have no idea what has happened in the last few weeks,” she says.

Although the flow of trains arriving in Lviv with people fleeing violence has slowed down, the city’s central station still receives a dozen convoys daily with thousands of people, coming not only from Mariupol but also from Zaporizhia, Kharkiv, Luhansk, and Kyiv.

For many, Lviv is just a stopover before crossing the border with Poland. More than 3.6 million Ukrainians have already left the country.

Outside the train station, where tents of several NGOs are set up, Lviv is operating as usual. There is heavy traffic, all facilities are open and cafeterias are loaded.

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