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Video Shows Nightmarish Scenes After Rocket Barrage in Eastern Ukraine

Footage from the immediate aftermath of a rocket attack on Mariupol shows several dead and wounded civilians, burned out buildings, and blocks strewn with broken glass and rubble.
Image via YouTube

Separatist fighters shelled the government-controlled city of Mariupol in Ukraine's Donetsk province on Saturday morning, killing at least 27 civilians and wounding more than 90 others.

The rocket barrage struck residential apartment blocks, a kindergarten, and an open-air market. The video below shows a nightmarish scene in the immediate aftermath of the attack, as the cameraman finds several dead and wounded civilians. Many of the dead appear to have been caught in the barrage while on their way to work, out for a morning stroll, or running errands. Smoke billows above burning shops as survivors inspect burned-out vehicles that sit battered on residential streets lined with apartment blocks strewn with rubble and broken glass.


The video comes from Ukraine's Azov Battalion — a special forces unit based in Mariupol — and was filmed by a member of the battalion with the code name "Dancer."

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Early on, one of the men in the vehicle says "Fuck, the market's on fire." A few moments later, the men find a wounded civilian bleeding on the sidewalk.

"Maybe we should evacuate him right away?" one of the men asks. "Yes, use a tourniquet on his leg." The man is shown being put into an ambulance.

Later, the men walk toward a burning building and encounter an older woman standing over the body of what appears to be a man with a blue jacket and red gloves on. A white cloth covers his face. A pool of blood sits next to his head.

"Oh god. Someone help!" she sobs. She wears a white hat and carries a purse. Nearby, people stand and stare at a burning building. Others walk by, as if the scene around them is perfectly normal.

The cameraman walks 200 feet down the sidewalk and finds the body of another dead civilian, his body and thick winter jacket torn to pieces by a nearby rocket impact.

Closer to the burning building, another dead civilian is being covered by a sheet.

At the 6:21 mark, the camera cuts to a shop that appears to have its roof blown off. Another soldier shows off what he says is the aluminum remnants of a Grad missile.

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At 8:20, the cameraman arrives at a burning school, identifying it as School 5.

"Was anyone hurt?" the cameraman asks.

"I hear that no one was," says a man.

"Thank god the kindergarten wasn't open today," a voice says.

"They shot at the kindergarten, at civilians," the man says.

The video shows where a rocket impacted on a soccer field, and around 11 minutes into the clip, the camera enters the damaged interior of another kindergarten. It appears that there were no children in the classroom at the time of the attack.

"That's where it hit," a man says. "And two over there."

At 13:19, the men find another body strewn behind a car and covered by a sheet.

"Is it a body?" someone asks.

"Yeah its a body," comes the reply.

A tube can be seen emerging from the impact site.

"There's the rocket. Bastards."

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Just before the 15-minute mark, the cameraman returns to the body and lifts the sheet, revealing a dead, elderly woman in a fur coat, her black purse still by her side. The vehicle next to her is peppered with shrapnel holes the size of marbles.

The cameraman then follows a foreign member of the Azov battalion as he inspects another impact site. They find yet another dead body, this one covered by a blue tarp. It appears to be the body of a younger woman. Her blonde hair pokes out of the top of the tarp still wrapped in a pigtail, next to her bloody hand lying lifeless on the grass.

According to the latest United Nations statistics, the uptick in violence in Ukraine has killed 262 in nine days alone, pushing the conflict's overall death toll above 5,000.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attacks, and his office issued a statement saying the attacks "appear to have been launched indiscriminately into civilian areas, which would constitute a violation of international humanitarian law."

"The Secretary-General urges all concerned to redouble their efforts to revive the Minsk accords," the statement said. "Ukraine's peace, territorial integrity and stability, intrinsically linked to that of the broader region, must be urgently restored."

Translation by Simon Ostrovsky