This Ukrainian Man Evacuated 200 People From Mariupol Using A Battered Red Van

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A nightclub owner in Ukraine said Tuesday that he assisted in evacuating more than 200 people from Mariupol in a war-battered red van, which he plans to make into a “monument” after the crisis is over.

According to reports, Mykhailo Puryshev, 36, claimed he made six hazardous trips to help people of his community in March before being told by a separatist soldier not to return or risk detention and punishment.

“The bus came under shelling, a strike, mortar, rifle fire, to be honest, there are so many marks of war on it,” Puryshev said.

Smoke billows from the rubble near a destroyed building, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Mariupol

“The only injury I had was a glass shard in my side,” he added. “But my coat saved me, and I only got a scratch. God protected me, of course. My bus looked after me.”

Puryshev, who previously managed a nightclub in Mariupol, told reporters that when he arrived in the city on March 8, it was like a “cloud of smoke, like a bonfire.”

A view of a destroyed apartment building, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Mariupol

“The last time I went, it was just ash with the black coal of buildings,” he said.

A part of a destroyed tank and a burnt vehicle lay in a sector held by Russian-backed separatist rebels in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Saturday, April 23.

A part of a destroyed tank and a burned vehicle sit in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Saturday, April 23.

Puryshev claims he drove eight hours to Mariupol through Russian-controlled territory, dodging mud and bodies on the road while looking for land mines.

A convoy of pro-Russian troops moves along a road in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday, April 21.

He said that he initially instructed his nightclub staff to construct a bomb shelter in the basement for around 200 people before rescuing them and others who had sought refuge there.

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