Missile strikes rekindle fear among Kiban as Moscow resumes its attacks

Wedding photographer Viktoriia Vasylieva and her 8-year-old daughter have returned to Kieu’s home in recent weeks. He enjoyed relatively peace in a city far from the brutal cannon war that raged in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

But when one was killed in a cruise missile attack on Sunday, the calm was shattered again. Subsequent rocket attack Messages have been sent throughout Ukraine from Kremenchuk to Odesa. Moscow is ready to kill civilians no matter where they live.

“I understand it’s dangerous to stay here,” said Vasilieva, who moved from Crimea to Kieu a few years ago. “But I think this is my house.”

She and her daughter have become accustomed to the “two-wall rules” for evacuating to corridors and bathrooms with air raid sirens. However, they escaped from Kyiv three days after Russia’s invasion in February and will not raise the stick again. “There is nothing worse than being a refugee,” said Vasylieva.

A few months after Russian troops bombarded part of the capital and brutally occupied two lush northwestern suburbs, Irpin and Bucha, Kyivans was trying to restore something similar to normal. increase.

Viktoriia Vasylieva with her daughter

Cafés and bars in the city center, which were attractive to foreigners seeking a trendy atmosphere in Berlin at prewar growing middle class and Ukrainian prices, are beginning to make noise again. By 6 pm, Reitarska Street cocktail drinkers are spilling on the sidewalk. The curfew at 11:00 pm means that some parties will start a little earlier.

However, it is impossible to escape the signs of war.

An exhibition of destroyed Russian military hardware brings a goker to the central Mikhailifska Square. The mural praises the dead. A giant banner in the administration building of Mayor Vladimir Klitschko calls for the release of fighters captured by Russia after destroying Mariupol.

Cars need to enter and exit the spiked steel anti-tank barricades known as “Izaki” or hedgehogs scattered along the streets of the capital. Sandbags cover the statue and the official buttress building.

Some of the city’s leading creative lights suspect that Putin’s invasion may have extinguished the candles.

“Everything was thriving and the whole country was booming. Kieu was the new Berlin. Darko Skulsky, who moved from Philadelphia to the city and became executive producer of one of the companies behind it, Radioaktive Film, said: It states as follows. Chernobyl HBO series. “There were some of the coolest bars, nightclubs and great restaurants in the world. Then this happened.”

Skulsky currently lives in Warsaw. “There are definitely tears, always,” he said.

Immediately after being hit by a missile in Kyiv on Sunday, June 26
The moment of a missile attack in Kyiv on Sunday, June 26 © Derek Brower / FT

Before the invasion on February 24, about 4 million people lived in Kieu. As the Russian army approached, the population plummeted. Currently, the number has recovered to about 2.7 million, but the trauma has been prolonged.

“The city is different. It’s empty,” said Vladyslav Piotkovskyy, a 29-year-old analyst who left Kieu with his wife and little daughter in March. They came back a few weeks ago.

“The subtleties have changed. Your favorite restaurant no longer sells your favorite food. .. We did a rabies jab for our pets, and the vet said they did it all. I told us that we were running out. “

Like many others, his anxiety goes far beyond Kyiv. When the Russians invaded, his grandparents chose to stay near Kharkiv, a town now occupied by Russia. The family lost contact with them in March.

Many in the city have a similar story of a country torn by the war. But the mood is also rebellious.

Just hours after Sunday’s missile strike, music was playing at HVLV, a “pre-party” hangout where hipsters smoke cigarettes, browse records, and share cocktails with tanned soldiers. rice field.

The man was involved Withdrawal from Severodonetsk A few days ago, the Russians were preparing to return to another town, Lysychans’k, where they were attacking Donbus.

“We’re back to take Donbus,” said Selhiy Philimonov, a soldier with a “victory or Valhalla” tattoo on his chest.

Anti-tank “hedgehog” in the Independence Square in the center of Kyiv © Sergei Chuzavkov / SOAP / Zuma Press / eyevine

At the central Brodsky synagogue, Rita Koror and her husband Victor Prister talked about the loss of relatives in order to survive World War II and the Nazi invasion. Again, many members of the synagogue left Kieu for fear of Putin’s army. Few people came back. Koror and Pristar remained.

“It’s hard to leave at our age,” she said. Did they feel safe? “No.” The couple does not have a bunker to hide. “I’m scared to hear the siren.”

While many foreign brands are closing or closing stores, local businesses are showing more steel. Next to the synagogue, Kosher Deli still sells goods imported from the United States and Israel. Inside the Gulliver Shopping Mall on the road that remained open during the invasion, the exclusive Silpo Supermarket stocks ripe fruits, carefully selected meats and fine wines.

Analyst Piotkovskyy is one of Kieu’s many native Russian speakers trying to avoid the intruder’s language, literature and music and switch to speaking Ukrainian. This is another identity adjustment for those who never believed that Russia poses a threat.

Photographer Vasylieva says she has now started a business of taking pictures of Kyivans, who has temporarily returned for her last visit to the city.

She dropped out with her father in support of Russia in the Crimean annexation denying news of Russia’s atrocities and missile strikes. But the mental state of her daughter, not her father, is her priority.

“I don’t want her to see anything terrible,” she says. “Her psychological state is up to me.”

Missile strikes rekindle fear among Kiban as Moscow resumes its attacks

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