A brief reprieve came in the early afternoon, when the Ukrainians went on the offensive.
“We are hitting them because they are out of artillery shells,” Anatoli, a 19-year-old Ukrainian soldier, told BuzzFeed News. “We can say that Irpin is theirs. But we’re going to cut them now that people are out.
Kyiv has tried to agree with Moscow on safe evacuation routes out of towns surrounded by Russian forces where the bombardment is heaviest. But the agreements are largely unfulfilled and civilians have been deliberately targeted by the Russian military as they attempt to flee.
There has been no agreement between the warring parties for a safe corridor out of Irpin, which is in northern Ukraine near the capital kyiv.
Until Sunday, residents could leave the city by train. But then the Russians bombed the tracks, destroying the safest and easiest escape route. The only way out on Tuesday was through the rubble of a bridge destroyed by the Ukrainian army to prevent Russian forces from advancing with tanks and armored vehicles towards Kiev just 15 miles to the east.
Ukrainian soldiers told BuzzFeed News that thousands of residents were being asked to leave immediately because Russian forces were not only spraying Irpin, but also setting up shop there – stealing food, gas and other supplies – and occupying what was left of it.
Anna, a woman in her 60s, told BuzzFeed News that if enemy soldiers hadn’t burst into her family’s home, “we wouldn’t have left.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin thought his army would cross Ukraine in days and force kyiv to surrender, but he underestimated the fierce resistance and resilience of the Ukrainians. Now his so-called “special military operation” appears to have become a terror operation aimed at breaking the will of Ukrainians by besieging their towns and indiscriminately firing at them with rockets named after destructive weather events like tornadoes. , hurricanes and hail.
But in the face of the worst fighting Europe has seen in decades, the Ukrainians have been defiant.
Oleksandr Markushyn, the mayor of Irpin, said Russian forces sent him a death threat and a demand to return the city to them on Monday.
“I’m surprised these monsters still don’t understand that Irpin isn’t surrendering, Irpin isn’t for sale, Irpin is fighting!” he wrote on Telegram on Tuesday.