“Everything is destroyed”: aerial images of Ukrainian town reveal post-apocalyptic scenes

30 mai, 2023

Ukraine’s once flourishing town of Maryinka situated in the southeast Donetsk region now resembles a post-apocalyptic wasteland, satellite images reveal, highlighting the stark and brutal reality of Russia’s invasion. 

When Oksana Sidorenko-Markovich observes aerial photographs of her hometown of Maryinka today, which had a pre-war population of more than 9,300 inhabitants, she cannot identify her old family home. 

“I don’t even see familiar streets,” she told Context.ro. “Everything is destroyed. The memory of our ancestors, graves. Russians wiped out people’s history – this is genocide.”

According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Bakhmut and Maryinka remain the centers of fighting today as the war grinds on.  

Sidorenko-Markovich recalls that before Russia’s massive strikes on Maryinka, the town was bustling with people, including children. After Russia’s invasion last February, many residents sheltered in basements, and volunteers brought humanitarian aid, she said. 

“I spoke to the locals more than once, asking them to leave,” she recalls, “but many believed that the Russians would not harm parents with children. And when the Russians entered the city, they gathered up all the inhabitants who were hiding in the basements and forcibly took them to Russia – they were kidnapped at gunpoint.”

dd16684d 0578 4222 b7e1 28d5c8c286e6

source: Oksana Sidorenko-Markovici

Sidorenko-Markovich, who serves in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, says that before Russia’s full-scale invasion, before she moved to Mariopul in 2018 with her husband and three children, Maryinka was targetted with phosphorus shells, the use of which is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions. 

“Everything just burned out,” she recalls of her experience. “I too have come under fire like this. This is scary. Phosphorus enters the respiratory tract, you start to suffocate. Tears come, then (the) vomiting begins.”

When the family moved to Mariupol in 2018, they bought a modest house and invested all of their money in repairing it. But today, after being struck by Russian shellings and targetted by looters, their home is but a barren shell. 

485bc419 d40b 49d6 84eb 39f6258aa8ba

source: Oksana Sidorenko-Markovici

When the war ends, Sidorenko-Markovich, her husband, and one of her sons who all serve in the armed forces, may not have a home to return to. That will likely be the experience for the millions of displaced Ukrainians whose lives have been upended by war.

Sidorenko-Markovich says she knew that Russia would eventually launch a full-scale invasion, and recalls the panic when it happened last February. “Planes were flying over us, dropping bombs,” she said. “The Russians were within walking distance of the city. I remember the feeling of fear when any minute could be the last.” 

She also recalls the sense of panic as people scrambled to withdraw cash from ATM machines, the long queues for petrol, and peoples’ shock as Moscow’s forces targeted civilians with aerial strikes. “It was clear that even shelters did not save (people) … Horror and chaos reigned,” she said. 

IMG 9057

source: Presidential Office of Ukraine via Business Insider

Fleeing embattled Mariupol was no easy task, a situation that was little helped by Russia’s jamming of local communication networks. 

Today,  Sidorenko-Markovich says she is “at zero”, her energy zapped by the war. She refuses to speculate about Ukraine’s expected counter-offensive, but she is certain that  Donetsk will eventually be liberated. She says she does not make plans for the future, and that she refuses to dream. 

“The Russians have taken our home … we have nowhere to go,” she said. “For now, we have only one prospect – to survive and live to win.”

Edited by Stephen McGrath

Despre autor: Taisiia Bakharieva

Avatar of Taisiia Bakharieva
Taisiia Bakharieva este o jurnalistă din Kiev, Ucraina, care acum locuiește în România. Este în media din 1994 și a lucrat pentru agenția de presă RATAU, ziarele Kray și Vseukrainskie Vedomosti și ca redactor-șef al departamentului de cultură al ziarului și al site-ului FAKTI. Taisiia a intervievat numeroase personalități din Ucraina și este autor și prezentator al secțiunii de televiziune TV-FAKTI. După ce Rusia i-a invadat țara, Taisiia s-a mutat în România și s-a alăturat echipei CONTEXT. Munca ei se concentrează acum pe investigații privind crimele de război ale Rusiei în Ucraina și realizează interviuri cu victimele și martorii terorii rusești. Este de multă vreme membră a Uniunii Jurnaliștilor din Ucraina.

Leave A Comment