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“She Died Instantly, so She Didn’t Suffer”: Russians Continue To Kill Civilians in Mykolaiv

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On October 1, Russians once again massively shelled Mykolaiv. Around 5 am, the invaders fired S-300 missiles at two districts of the city. The shells hit residential buildings, destroying several apartments. A woman with a three-month-old child was wounded, and after 10 hours of rescue operations, a 29-year-old girl was found dead. 

Such massive attacks on Mykolaiv take place almost every day. In total, during the seven months of the invasion, the Russians did not shell Mykolaiv for just over 30 days. On the other days, it is Kalibr and S-300 missiles, rockets from Smerchs, Uragans, and Peons, and cluster bombs that are fired at the residents of the once half-million-strong city, with only half of the population still remaining in the city. As of mid-September, according to Mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych, the full-scale war has claimed the lives of at least 135 citizens, and nearly 700 others have been seriously injured. 

On October 1, one of the S-300 missiles hit a five-story building located in the central district of the city. The building is surrounded by typical urban developments: other residential buildings, a church, stores, and a coffee shop. According to law enforcement officers, there are no military facilities nearby. The damaged house is mostly inhabited by elderly people who could not or did not want to leave Mykolaiv. Some of them, according to the locals, spend the night in their own apartments, while others go down to the basement every night or stay with their friends in safer locations. 

An apartment on the fifth floor of the building was hit by the missile and destroyed it. A 29-year-old woman who worked at one of the local markets lived there. Neighbors say that she was an IDP, she came to Mykolaiv from the Dnipropetrovsk Region. Since rescuers did not have accurate information on whether she was at home during the shelling, they continued searching. After almost 10 hours of clearing rubble, the woman’s body was found one floor below, buried under massive concrete slabs. Her body was identified by her ex-husband, who had raised the alarm. According to doctors, the woman died instantly, so despite the numerous injuries she was found with, she did not suffer. 

Iryna, the owner of one of the destroyed apartments on the same floor, was not at home during the shelling. For a month now, the woman has been spending the nights at her friends’ place, because she was afraid to stay on the top floor during heavy shelling of the city. In fact, it saved her life, because a single closet was left of her entire apartment. 

“My flat is gone. In fact, I am already homeless. The only thing that survived was the cabinet where I kept my things. I hope that at least something has survived there and I will be able to find at least my winter clothes”, the woman said. During the conversation, Iryna started crying. 

Anatoliy, the owner of the apartment on the floor below, was at home during the shelling. He said that after the missile hit, the house shook violently, and small red lights began to fly and explode from above. The walls of the apartment more or less survived, but the doors and windows were blown out. Now, according to Anatoliy, it is dangerous to live in the house. In addition, the utilities have been shut off, so the locals will have to look for another shelter for some time. 

“But we are already used to such shellings. You won’t get a night’s sleep during those. We already know that they start shooting at us in the morning and we do not sleep,” he said

During the search for the woman, representatives of the local Red Cross were on duty near the house. During such events, they work as paramedics and provide the injured with the necessary assistance. According to the head of their coordination headquarters Akradiy Dabahyan, they hoped she wasn’t under the rubble to the last minute. 

However, according to Arkady, despite such tragic circumstances, the people of Mykolaiv are used to them and react to everything with calm. 

“The main problem of Mykolaiv, persistent to this day, is that the locals fall asleep every night with only a 50% chance that they will wake up in the morning. That is, they may or may not wake up. I do not know a bigger problem. Everything else, devastation, destruction of buildings, yes, it is unpleasant, but not the main problem,” he added.

After the shelling of the house, law enforcement officers initiated criminal proceedings over the violation of the laws and customs of war. Such attacks on civilians, as well as terror attacks in general, are prohibited under international law. Indiscriminate attacks on civilians, when the aggressor does not have an exact military target for shelling or it is impossible to separate it from civilian objects, are also prohibited. This is considered a war crime.

It has been repeatedly stated by the mayor of Mykolaiv, Oleksandr Sienkevych, that such Russian attacks on the city, which include hitting public transport stops, residential buildings, markets, kindergartens, and schools without military facilities, are simply attempts by the invaders to intimidate the citizens. So far, they have failed. 

Olha Ivlieva

This article was created by Bihus.Info as part of the project “EU Urgent Support for Civil Society” implemented by ISAR Ednannia with the financial support of the European Union. The content of the article is the sole responsibility of Bihus.Info and does not necessarily reflect the position of the European Union.

 

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