On the ground
Issued on: 16/03/2022 – 11:58
An elderly resident of Irpin being evacuated to central Ukraine, March 15, 2022 © FRANCE 24
Irpin is the strategic city providing northwestern access to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. After days of intense fighting, FRANCE 24 visited the last accessible checkpoint to meet those fleeing the raging battle, just a few hours before the 36-hour curfew began.
Ambulances arrive from Irpin with sirens blaring. Aboard are the city’s last round of residents, fleeing the shelling that has destroyed most of their city. The upmarket suburb was home to 110,000 inhabitants before the war, and now the majority of the population has been evacuated.
Kyiv residents hold their breath, as Russian troops strike fear and loathing
The last to leave are elderly people, their caretakers and people who decided to sit the battle out. But with shells now falling every night, they are ready to evacuate.
‘It’s nothing less than a slaughter’FRANCE 24 spoke to a volunteer who went into Irpin to evacuate his mother to a safe place in central Ukraine after she spent a few days hiding out in a church basement. The man said his group had evacuated over 3000 people and that once his mother was safe, he planned to return to help others.
His mother told FRANCE 24: “It’s nothing less than a slaughter. No one can put up with that. The Ukrainian people will never give up. We will live on Ukrainian land, that’s it.”