Rescuer from Hell: The Story of a Volunteer from Azovstal

Mariupol is one of the most painful chapters of the Russian-Ukrainian war. According to preliminary data, the city is 98% destroyed. In the early months of the full-scale invasion, it became a focal point that captured the world’s attention, witnessing the fiercest and most desperate battles.

The “War Up Close” team had a conversation with local volunteer Mykhailo Puryshev, who was assisting in Mariupol at that time. On March 9th, near their bomb shelter, a Russian airstrike caused severe damage to Mykhailo’s car. Later, the vehicle was repaired, and with its help, volunteers continued to evacuate women and children from danger. They reinforced the interior of the van with metal plates so that, in case of shelling or explosion, shrapnel wouldn’t pierce through the body. This van saved Mykhailo’s life and the lives of many children from Mariupol on multiple occasions.

“I never thought I could be a volunteer… war is like a switch that suddenly changes something inside you.”

The sixth trip was supposed to be Mykhailo’s last, as he planned to focus on resettling people. However, then came the “Azovstal” incident, and everything started all over again.

“Children, Azovstal, Mariupol – it’s all painful. You realize that no one will evacuate them from there… It’s impossible to forgive.”

We will not forget, and we will not forgive.

Our team continues to document the cruel crimes of the Russians against Ukraine and showcase them to the world.