UNITED NATIONS (HRNW) – More than a hundred ambassadors, journalists and representatives of a broad spectrum of society watched a U.N. screening of the award-winning documentary “20 Days in Mariupol,” which follows a trio of Associated Press journalists during Russia’s relentless siege of the Ukrainian port city in the early days of the war.
U.K. Ambassador Barbara Woodward, who co-hosted the screening, said the film is important because “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens what the U.N. stands for: an international order where the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries is fundamental.”
“We want to reaffirm our commitment to U.N. values, and that’s why we’ve chosen to show this very important documentary,” she said in welcoming the audience at U.N. headquarters in New York.
The screening comes at the start of the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly and a week before world leaders arrive for their annual meeting, where the more than 18-month war in Ukraine is expected to be in the spotlight — especially with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy scheduled to speak in person for the first time.
The harrowing documentary, which was produced by the AP and the PBS series “Frontline,” is culled from 30 hours of footage AP journalist Mstyslav Chernov and his colleagues shot in Mariupol following Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine and its siege of the city.
It documents fighting in the streets, the crushing strain on Mariupol’s residents and medical teams, and attacks that killed pregnant women, children and others.
The siege, which ended on May 20, 2022, with the surrender of a small group of outgunned and outmanned Ukrainian fighters at the Azovstal steel plant, left the city in ruins and an estimated 25,000 people dead, though the toll is likely higher.
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the other co-host, said “20 Days in Mariupol” documents “the horrors of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war of aggression.”