To Defenders of Freedom

The Mariupol resident swam 4 kilometers in the ice-cold sea to get out of the occupied city

Dmytro Yurin from Mariupol

When the Russian invaders bombed Mariupol Drama Theater, Dmytro Yurin was at home, not far from the building. He and his mother hid in the garage from the shelling, and after the explosion, the man went to help the victims. He saw dead and injured people with his own eyes. He managed to pull out some people, while others died from fatal injuries. However, because of the nonstop shelling, the rescue operations were dangerous.

Dmytro decided to get out of the city in the most accessible way — by swimming, as he used to go fishing with his father in the Azov sea. He put on his fishing pants, tied two plastic trash bags around his socks, and took a few ropes and four five-liter plastic bottles that functioned as buoys. He went to the beach, walked along the shore for a while, and then dove into the water. He swam 150 meters parallel to the shore and headed to the west. The water was so freezing that his teeth chattered. In order to stay unnoticed, Dmytro hid behind one of the bottles. From time to time the man rested on a buoy.

Overall, the Mariupol resident swam for 2.5 hours. He managed to cover 4 kilometers. An old couple sheltered and fed him in the village of Melekine. They gave him borscht and some horilka. After that, Dmytro was able to get on a minibus to Berdiansk and went through the Russia-controlled checkpoints. He then got to Ukraine-controlled territory and is now in Lviv.

Explore more