The commander of the Ukrainian Marine unit in the besieged city of Mariupol wrote a letter to Pope Francis appealing for him to save the people remaining in the city under heavy bombardment.
In the letter, published on the Ukrainska Pravda website, Maj. Serhii Volyna, commander of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade, wrote, "I have not seen your appeals to the world and I have not read all your last statements, I have been fighting for more than 50 days in complete encirclement and all I have time for is a fierce battle for every meter of a city encircled by the enemy."
Volyna said he was ready to "fight to the end," despite constant artillery and rocket fire, lack of water, food and medicine, adding: "You have probably seen a lot in your life. But I am sure that you have never seen what is happening in Mariupol. Because that's what hell on Earth looks like. I have little time to describe all the horrors I see here every day. At the plant [Azovstal], women with children and babies live in bunkers. In hunger and cold. Every day being targeted by the enemy aviation. The wounded die every day because there is no medicine, no water, no food."
The officer alluded to the drama theater in Mariupol that was hit by a Russian strike while being used as a shelter for civilians in March.
"The time has come when praying is not enough," Volyna said. "Help to save them. After the bombing of the drama theater, no one believes the Russian occupiers. Bring the truth to the world, evacuate people and save their lives from the hands of Satan, who wants to burn all living things."