This is the second part of the narrative about the volunteers’ trip to the Mariupol, where the defenders of Ukraine hold the positions at the suburbs. This time we will say a few words about the city of Mariupol and the Army FM Radio.
For the beginning of the story please visit The Ford cars for the military. Part one
Nowadays Mariupol have a predatory look, because of the barbed wire, anti-tank protection and giant concrete tetrapod checkpoints. Before the war these tetrapods were used for the strengthening of the coastline, and as the art objects. On the occasion of the City Day they were painted by the professional artists. And now it is hard and weird to see these bright giants concrete fortifications at the checkpoints.
Outpost at the Mariupol
At the checkpoint National Guard keeps the safety. They check everybody, whether you are a local or a guest from another region. Three Fords that we are delivering cause some concern as well. The soldiers surrounded the cars and checked the documents. Despite the relatively positive attitude of the National Guard, you can still feel the presence of the danger around. If we were the enemies, there was no chance for us to run away from this secured and protected place neither by the road, nor through the field.
One sleepless night in the road, and the Mariupol is near
The citizens of Mariupol are still asleep. The cars are comfortable enough, so the fourteen hours in the road flown smoothly. But the absence of sleep has its consequences. We just crossed the border of the city, and Maxym started rubbing his eyes. This is 7 AM on the clock, and through the streets are scurrying the first trolleys. At the bus stops sleepy citizens wait for the buses to go either to school or to work. This is the usual morning rush.
Lonely morning trolleys cruising the streets
The glorious Mariupol City was build at the coast, but ever hardly looked like a resort. On the shore stretches the Metallurgical Plant. The significant part of the coast was turned into an industrial dump. The color of the water nearby is green, but the reason for this is not at all a healthy environment of the marine life.
The Mariupol was, is and will be Ukrainian city only
The Mariupol City hasn’t changed over the years. You can find here the same fanciful patchwork of architecture, modern houses and lines of industrial pipes. It seems that the Metallurgical Plant forms the city shape. And the thick smog covers one or another part of the city, depending on the wind direction.
The Army FM
We are allowed only 20 minutes break after the fourteen hour ride. The new radio station opening is planed for today, and we are in the guest list.
Citizens curiously and cautiously look at the cars
The cultural space of Ukraine had not changed much with the presence of war. Various radio stations still broadcast russian music and news still. But to hear some patriotic or truthful information about the Ukrainian army from the first hands is still very difficult. And on the occupied territories the Ukrainian cultural and educational activities on the radio are virtually absent. This situation is gradually changed only by the enthusiasts.
The main inspirer and organizer of The Army FM Radio and her colleague were the ones who helped us to transfer the cars. The Yana Kholodna and Sergiy Telyatytskyi are the military people and the members of The Military Television. Just the day before The Army FM Radio started broadcasting at the frequency of 89.5 FM in Mariupol. And the briefing was dedicated to the presentation of the patriotic radio.
With the joint effort of the city government, and the military The Army FM Radio is now broadcasting in Mariupol. Photo by Yana Kholodna
The briefing was organised for the military, local authorities and the management of The Army FM Radio by The Civil-Military Cooperation Service. Also, we want to express gratitude to them for the significant effort in the implementation of the patriotic radio service. Cooperation and support of the civilians in the combat zones and at the front line, the cultural and educational work, solving the organizational issues of the Ukrainian army and support of the volunteers is the job of those brave people. We sincerely thank them for the discreet and very important input.
The lieutenant colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Yana Kholodna looks great, even after more than 24 hours without sleep, and only twenty minutes break
After the briefing we give the interview to the press representatives. The biggest interest of the journalists take three cars we brought.
The volunteers give the interview
The local civilians look at the cars with the interest. A few steps away is conducted a little concert for the marines.
Sasha is a bit shy to give an interview
We have some time to walk through the city to look at it. The Mariupol is still badly ruined. Two years ago, terrorists shelled the eastern outskirts of the city with the Grad. But the results of the distant gunfire can be seen even now. The fear is in city, so the terrorists achieved their goal in some way.
It seems that it would not be a quick job to repair all the ruined buildings
Here we can see the house with the unfinished maintenance. Nobody is sure if there is still the reason to continue it, because nobody is sure about what will happen next. That is a luxury establishment but windows are still covered with the sandbags. The people get used to this, and life is going in its steady pace.
The windows of the expensive restaurant in the center of the Mariupol are covered with the sandbags
Some military complain about the contrast between their life at the front line and the casual civil life at the center of the Mariupol. But life does not stop here for a moment, and people are trying to make it as normal as possible, despite the war nearby.
The Mariupol is also a known as a cozy hometown for the numerous Greek diaspora
The contrast is striking: the luxurious restaurant is 200 meters away, from the place where the OUN humanitarian mission gives away the aid to those who are in need.
The queue for the humanitarian aid
At the entrance to the railway station we meet the Military Police.
The senior officer is a Deputy Commandant. He asks us to arrange all the documents properly. The request is polite and reasonable. The police officer also helped us with a return tickets. It is always nice to meet new friends.
Few more outposts and we will get to the marines in twenty minutes
Finally we depart to the destination, where the soldiers are waiting for the new cars. Yana and Sergiy brought few dozen of radios, and will distribute them at the front line among the soldiers.
In the last part of the article we will tell about the marines, the ruined villages at the front line, and about the people, who are affected by the war the most.
Support the marines and join The Mariupol Defenders Project to help the defenders of Ukraine to protect the country.