Mariupol – the besieged city
It is hard to resist such a feeling when you arrive at the city; in the centre, separatists – barricades, occupied offices, signs of fighting, burnt buildings, flowers placed where victims perished and symbols of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Conquered armoured vehicles, some still bearing Ukrainian flags, some already with black, blue and red (republican) ones, some are spray-painted.
Around Mariupol there are troops of the Ukrainian army, militsyia, voluntary "Donbas" and "Azov" battalions, Self-Defence; all of them armed; tanks, armoured vehicles. Things have moved on much since the time of clubs and Molotov cocktails on the Maidan... Still, there is a shortage of high quality helmets, bulletproof vests and tactical body armour. Battalion soldiers were initially transferred to Mariupol for 1-2 days, but have been told to stay for the time being, so they are organising clean underwear, toothpaste, mattresses etc. All this looks a little like trench warfare – each of the parties control their part of the territory and city residents pass by, on their way to work through one barricade or another.