A reporter describes life under siege in the Ukrainian city and why it was so important to break the silence
The Russians were hunting us down. They had a list of names, including ours, and they were closing in.
We had been documenting the siege of Mariupol by Russian troops for more than two weeks and were the only international journalists left in the city. We were reporting inside the hospital when gunmen began stalking the corridors. Surgeons gave us white scrubs to wear as camouflage.
Suddenly at dawn, a dozen soldiers burst in: “Where are the journalists, for fuck’s sake?”
I looked at their armbands, blue for Ukraine, and tried to calculate the odds that they were Russians in disguise. I stepped forward to identify myself. “We’re here to get you out,” they said.
The walls of the surgery shook from artillery and machine gun fire outside, and it seemed safer to stay inside. But the Ukrainian soldiers were under orders to take us with them.