Life Under Russian Occupation: A Canadian’s Testimony in Southern Ukraine | war in Ukraine

We have been living under Russian occupation for exactly 55 calendar days, 55 days when the food supply is no longer controlled by Ukraine, so no food or medicines enter the city. »

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He counts himself among the lucky ones because he has plenty of provisions at home. He also spends his days preparing meals for his wife to distribute in apartment buildings where people lack everything.

Being a foreigner, Marc restricts his movements for fear of being arrested and taken hostage. Westerners in particular are trophies for Russian soldiers, he says.

Marc rarely leaves the house. He is confined to his garden and street to avoid any contact with the soldiers, whom he has learned to recognize even when they are not in an army vehicle.

The Russians have robbed all the local car dealerships and are driving around with unmarked cars. »

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If there was a time when Ukrainians were able to flee the region with a secret payment to Russian soldiers, Marc says the noose has tightened over the past 24 hours and the population is increasingly concerned about what next for him will happen. heures, parce que là, vraiment, on a bloqué les accès pour sortir de la ville même si les gens veulent payer. Donc, il y a des consignes pour vraiment garder toutes les populations ici. On lance véritablement cette fois-ci la mobilisation des hommes de 16ans et plus pour les utiliser comme chair à canon. C’est ce qui se passe en ce moment. C’est surréaliste.”,”text”:”Il y a beaucoup plus de stress dans les dernières 24heures, parce que là, vraiment, on a bloqué les accès pour sortir de la ville même si les gens veulent payer. Donc, il y a des consignes pour vraiment garder toutes les populations ici. On lance véritablement cette fois-ci la mobilisation des hommes de 16ans et plus pour les utiliser comme chair à canon. C’est ce qui se passe en ce moment. C’est surréaliste.”}}”>There’s a lot more stress in the last 24 hours because we really blocked access there to get out of town even if people want to pay. So there are guidelines to really keep all populations here. This time, we’re really starting to mobilize men as young as 16 to use them as cannon fodder. This is happening. It’s surreal.

He is unable to tell us the number of dead caused by the bombings, which were frequent in the first week of the war. He was last in town in early March and there were bodies on the ground. He also passed a burning car in which he saw four charred bodies.

But according to doctor friends he speaks to regularly, people often die of heart attacks and don’t receive medication. There are a thousand new graves in the city, and several pits have been dug.

Marc cannot say more about the circumstances of death than the local population lists.

What he does know, however, is that the Russians announced two days ago that Ukrainian doctors were being recruited to treat enemy battalions, and that several medics are now avoiding coming to work for fear of having to collaborate with the Russians.

Even more disturbing is the deportation of civilians by bus to Russia. It’s no longer a rumor, he says, but agonizing reality. »

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It’s new, and so far my sector has been spared. But in the neighboring villages, people are being systematically resettled. In Melitopol, for example, there are currently sorting centers where children are separated from parents, grandparents and children […] It’s exactly as I saw it when I was young, hearing reports from World War II, seeing the Germans, the Nazis, the deportation of the Jews on trains. The only difference now is the bus, it’s hideous.

If you try to flee despite everything, you run the risk of stepping on a mine. Marc says he saw with his own eyes how the Russian soldiers installed them in the fields and on the side roads. However, with the arrival of spring and the growth of the grass, we no longer distinguish them either.

When I ask him what will happen to him, he replies that his fate depends on the ability of the Ukrainian armed forces to regain control of the region. According to him, however, these had been pushed back by several tens of kilometres.

Even if Mark managed to pass the first checkpoint (checkpoint) Russian successful, he would encounter several other Russian checkpoints before joining the Ukrainian soldiers. His sector is constantly overflown by fighter jets and helicopters, and he says reinforcements have arrived this weekend. à 700équipements, je vois des tanks, des batteries.”,”text”:”De 500à 700équipements, je vois des tanks, des batteries.”}}”>From 500 to 700 equipment I see tanks, batteries.

As an antidote to his feeling of powerlessness, he tried to organize the settlement of Ukrainian refugees in Canada.

Just yesterday I managed to place a family in the Quebec region, they will be there in mid-May. To my relief, they will surely grow up. This is my current post and I’ll keep going. »

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For his part, he will try to escape as soon as the opportunity presents itself. When that will be is another storyhe said. People need to understand, beyond what they are being told, that Russia still has many capabilities.

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