Ukraine War, May 7, 2022 (III): Desperate plight of Ukrainian fighters in Azovstal steelwork; Urgent need for international action to avoid massacre

1) “Asowstal-Kämpfer senden Hilferuf; Wie in einer »höllischen Reality-Show« kommt er sich vor – und die Welt schaut zu. Das schreibt der Kommandeur der Truppen im Asow-Stahlwerk nach der Evakuierung der Zivilisten. Jetzt geht es um ihr Leben, Der Spiegel, den 7. Mai 2022 (22:46 Uhr).


2) Isobel Koshiw (Kyiv), “Ukrainian soldiers captured at Azovstal plant in ‘satisfactory’ conditions; Unit commander’s wife receives call saying prisoners have not been subjected to violence by Russian forces, The Guardian, May 24, 2022 (22.18 BST).


Desperate call for help from Ukrainian fighters in Azovstal steelworks

A commander of the fighters complains that while everyone is watching this reality-show, it is all real:

Revised Google translation

After the evacuation of the last civilians from the Azov steelworks in the port city of Mariupol, which was besieged by Russian troops, the Ukrainian fighters entrenched there sent an urgent call for help. “We can only hope for a miracle,” the commander of the 36th Marines Brigade, Serhiy Wolynskyj, wrote on Facebook on Saturday, “that Higher Powers can find a solution for our rescue!”

“It seems as if I have landed in some hellish reality-show, in which we soldiers are fighting for our lives and the whole world is watching this interesting show!” lamented the 30-year-old. But: “Pain, suffering, hunger, torment, tears, fear, death – everything is genuine!” In addition, Volynskyj posted a photo of himself in which he can be seen, unshaven, sleepless, and with an obviously wounded nose.

The original German, from Der Spiegel, above:

Nach der Evakuierung der letzten Zivilisten aus dem von russischen Truppen belagerten Asow-Stahlwerk in der Hafenstadt Mariupol haben die dort verschanzten ukrainischen Kämpfer einen eindringlichen Hilferuf gesendet. Er könne nur noch auf ein Wunder hoffen, schrieb der Kommandeur der 36. Marineinfanteriebrigade, Serhij Wolynskyj, am Samstag bei Facebook. »Darauf, dass höhere Kräfte eine Lösung für unsere Rettung finden!«

Es scheint so, als ob ich in irgendeiner höllischen Reality-Show gelandet bin, in der wir Militärs um unser Leben kämpfen, und die ganze Welt schaut dem interessanten Stück zu!«, beklagte der 30-Jährige. Doch: »Schmerz, Leiden, Hunger, Qualen, Tränen, Angst, Tod – alles ist echt!«. Dazu postete Wolynskyj ein Foto von sich, auf dem er unrasiert, übernächtigt und mit offenbar verletzter Nase zu sehen ist.

His plight represents a vignette that might stand for the ultimate obscenity of this war: While Ukrainians fight and die for freedom and democracy, not only theirs but also our own, armchair warriors in NATO countries cheer them on as if it were a football game, in the safety of their own homes, without risking their own lives and limbs.

The United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and all of the individual members of the U.N. Security Council, including China (but obviously excluding Russia), should be urgently involved in efforts to secure the safe surrender under international supervision, or safe passage, of these Ukrainian soldiers.

It is a good moment for all civilized nations to take a strong stand demanding Russian compliance with International Humanitarian Law.

It is also a good moment for Russia to honor considerations of humanity, and to begin its long journey back toward rejoining the community of civilized nations.

The road back to humanity begins with the sparing or saving of individual human lives.

The Trenchant Observer


See also,

Only force can stop Putin

“Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2022.

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.