Embassy of Ukraine in Rwanda screens 20 days in Mariupol

On Monday July 8, 2024, the world learnt of a massive Russian missile attack on Ukraine targeting several cities including Kyiv, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Slovyansk, and Kramatorsk.

It was reported that over forty missiles struck apartment buildings, infrastructure, and notably, Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv, which is a critical medical facility, not only in Ukraine but in Europe. The hospital suffered severe damage, with many people trapped under the rubble.

There was extensive damage done to residential and medical infrastructure. Rescue operations involving circa four hundred rescuers worked through the night to rescue survivors and clear rubble. Reports revealed that there were casualties and Injuries as thirty-eight people including 4 children lost their lives whilst the injured numbered circa one hundred and ninety persons, with sixty-four hospitalised in Kyiv, twenty-eight in Kryvyi Rih, and six in Dnipro.

Whilst still in the country, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine urged the international community to take decisive measures to halt Russian aggression and bring about peace and security. And stated that Russian accountability for targeting civilians, including children, is paramount. When President Zelenskyy arrived Washington, in USA for the 75th NATO Summit a day later, in a post on his official twitter page; he stated and urged decisive actions from the US and Europe; actions that will strengthen Ukrainian warriors.

With this recent backdrop of events in Ukraine on July 8, 2024; the embassy of Ukraine in Rwanda in partnership with InstitutFrançais du Rwanda organised the screening of Oscar-winning documentary titled: 20 Days in Mariupol. The screening of the documentary was apt considering what had transpired the previous day in some cities in Ukraine.

20 days in Mariupol which was shot in 2022 and released in 2023is about the 20 days Mstyslav Chernov and his colleagues spent in the besieged city of Mariupol in February-March 2022 in the first weeks of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Chernov and his team from PBS’ Frontline and the Associated Press compiled an avalanche of footage collection in Mariupol.

According to the film’s official website, the summary of the film states that; “An AP team of Ukrainian journalists trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol struggle to continue their work documenting atrocities of the Russian invasion. As the only international reporters who remain in the city, they capture what later become defining images of the war: dying children, mass graves, the bombing of a maternity hospital, and more.After nearly a decade covering international conflicts, including the Russia-Ukraine war, for The Associated Press, this is Mstyslav Chernov’s first feature film.

The film draws on Chernov’s daily news dispatches and personal footage of his own country at war. It offers a vivid, harrowing account of civilians caught in the siege, as well as a window into what it’s like to report from a conflict zone, and the impact of such journalism around the globe.”

Watching 20 Days in Mariupol; it not only depicted daily struggles of human beings who were residents of Mariupol; it also showed a humanitarian crisis, civilian struggles of daily lives to get even the basics of human existence, evacuations, medical emergencies, wanton destruction of civilian homes, human despair and demise of women, men and babies, residents who had lost hope and became fearless walking the streets, resilience of the medical workers in the overcrowded and overloaded hospitals amid a shortage of medical supplies, fearless soldiers who went above and beyond, communication challenges with internet and journalistic challenges; which were all filmed in real-time.

Several images stood out, the elderly womanbaby who cried in the film, the elderly man who had lost his home and was walking on the street not scared of the gun battles in the streets, the parents who cried when they lost their children, the pregnant woman who still had to give birth even though she had lost a foot due to a shrapnel from a Russian missile, the famous image of the pregnant woman who was put on a stretcher and brought out from the bombed hospital (her comments when transferred to another hospital where she and her unborn babby passed on, are better listened to than told.) The hospital images and how the medical staff wanted everything happening (gory sights, chaos, resilience, despair etc) to be recorded for the world to see. And the image of the doctor who informed Mstyslav Chernov to walk with him into the basement as he wanted to show him something which the doctor wanted the world to know about.

A baby who was wrapped in some clothes and placed in the basement with other deceased residents of Mariupol.

Before the film commenced, France’s Ambassador to Rwanda and Ukraine’s top representative in Rwanda (Ambassador Antoine Anfre and Counsellor Vasyl Ivanshko respectively) spoke briefly about the current events of the previous day and thanked those present for accepting the invitation for the screening. They also informed the attendees that the film was very graphic. On his part, Diplomat Ivashko stated: “The attacks by Russia yesterday were clear and deliberation actions.

A clear-cut plan and aim to break the spirit of Ukrainians and to force Ukraine to commence negotiations of peace; all on the terms of the aggressor. I hope that we will see while watching this documentary why these plans and nefarious designs of the aggressor are doomed to fail.”

After the Ukrainian diplomat’s comments before the film commenced, there was a round of applause. The Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv hospital took a direct hit from Russian missile as suggested by a UN analysis. There are still shocks over the deadly strikes at the hospital in Ukraine on Monday, the 8th of July 2024 and it reiterates the fact that bombings do not discriminate even when they drop from the skies.

After everyone in attendance at the Francophone Cultural Centre of Rwanda, watched 20 days in Mariupol and the film’s credits ended; everyone began to walk out silently.

The post Embassy of Ukraine in Rwanda screens 20 days in Mariupol appeared first on Guardian Nigeria News.

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