“Thanks Dario Franceschini, he set a good example to follow. Together we will rebuild the country down to the last brick”. This is the message posted on Twitter by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in response to the announcement by the Minister of Culture that Italy is ready to rebuild the Mariupol theater destroyed by Russian bombing.
It’s the 22nd day of the war, morning. From the rubble of the Mariupol Drama Theater the survivors of the bombs dropped yesterday by Russian planes emerge like ghosts as rescuers try to clear the debris to be able to enter that basement where hundreds of people had found refuge. At least 130 were saved, says Ukrainian parliamentarian Olga Stefanyshyna. “Most of them seem to have survived and are doing well,” announces another MP, Dmytro Gurin, a native of Mariupol. But rescues are complicated, he explains, “the bombing and artillery don’t stop and the planes drop bombs”. It is still unclear how many people survived in the facility, says Pyotr Andryushchenko, adviser to the mayor of Mariupol. Nobody knows exactly how many there were down there, maybe 500, maybe more than a thousand, almost all women, elderly people, children. And no one knows yet if there are deaths and injuries among those who had fled from the outskirts of Mariupol under constant attack and had thought of saving themselves in the center of the city, in the basement of that theater which they thought would be spared. They also had, with an ingenuity that the next day evokes anger and sadness, written in large letters, in Cyrillic, the word ‘children’ on the ground at both ends of the building so that they could be seen by the planes of the Russian invaders. So visible that they can also be read perfectly from the satellite images released by the US company Maxar and relaunched by websites and TVs all over the planet. For ten days that basement was the refuge of Kate, 38, and her 17-year-old son, who fled the day before the bombing because they no longer felt safe and safe thanks to a ride in the car found in the convoy that left the town. city ​​using a humanitarian corridor. “The buildings around the theater had been damaged or destroyed. We knew we had to escape because something terrible was going to happen soon,” he told the BBC, recalling that “in the beginning it was really tough, because we didn’t have a well-organized food supply. . In the first two days the adults had no food. We only gave it to the children. ” Then, she says, the Ukrainian military organized aid: hot meals, water, blankets. The box office transformed into a distribution point for food and drinks, the upholstered armchairs of the disassembled stalls to invent mattresses, the wooden ones cut and used to light small fires, the crying of children in the endless underground camp. The videos shot by the refugees before the bombs show images from the day after, and instead the day of horror was yet to come. A day which marked a “deliberate attack on a civilian target” and which is “a clear violation of international law,” said James Cleverly, number 2 of the British Foreign Office, evoking yet another war crime to add to the list. For a long time, the International Criminal Court envoys have been drafting in Ukraine in an attempt to drag Putin before a court. After leaving Mariupol, Kate headed for Lviv, in the Western Ukraine, a region that has largely been spared from the attacks. “The first day, after we got out, I couldn’t talk. We all cried,” she confessed. “But now it seems there are no more tears. I don’t think this pain will ever go away.” Meanwhile, a message of hope arrives from Italy with the announcement of the Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini: the Council of Ministers approved the proposal to offer Ukraine the means and resources to rebuild the theater as soon as possible.

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