Our publisher Francis Carayol’s colleague, Ihor Markevych, lives in Kyiv, Ukraine. We asked if he would share his very personal story of life in the war zone. Ways to donate to organizations directly assisting the Ukrainian people are listed at the bottom of this article.
Kyiv. I woke up at 7am because I heard my mother saying “war started”. I stayed in bed, shocked for a few minutes. Can that really be? I was desperately hoping that my mother was confused about something and I went to check the news. Very unfortunately, she wasn’t. Six hours ago you were planning the weekend and the next morning your world was getting destroyed.
The first day was spent by checking the news every minute and trying to understand my next steps. Should I run? Should I fight? How can I save people whom I love? Imagine understanding that at any moment a person who is important to you might just disappear from your life forever. The war started feeling less scary and shocking after the first two days, but the feeling that your life can become significantly shorter than it can be at any moment is always present.
Me and my parents got more things in a bomb shelter in order to be able to spend there days or at least nights. Which is exactly what we did since then, spending every night in a bomb shelter, as most rocket and aerial strikes are happening during the early morning. I am usually reading news, books or just sleeping in a shelter. At the same time I am trying to help and organize locals down here, as they often lack discipline or are confused or scared. Luckily, my mobile internet is working down here. This article is being written from the shelter, by the way!
“Fun” fact – quite a lot of kids got born in metro underground stations or in bomb shelters during this week.
Made a new friend in a bomb shelter. I don’t think he can put his tongue fully in his mouth…
It took some time to start distinguishing between our anti-air strikes and explosions from their rockets. Both are explosions, both mean danger. But the first type of explosions is aimed at protecting you, while the second is aimed at killing without any particular reason.
At the same time, I have never seen such unity in my country. Our military mobilization centers are full, some are forced to say “please, come tomorrow”. Thousands of Ukrainians who were abroad are getting back here – instead of waiting for this to be over they are joining the fight. Everyone is helping. Everyone is fighting. Fun fact – homeless people started gathering empty bottles for molotovs. I was nearly crying with happy tears from this feeling of unity. It gave me a clear understanding that no matter how hard it will be, there is no way Ukraine can lose.
People with disabilities preparing molotovs to defend their city.
A day during which the negotiations were happening was very hard for civilians. As soon as russian troops understood that they were unable to fight properly with our army, they started targeting civilians. That includes kindergartens, hospitals, schools, churches, medical personnel etc. The interesting thing is though, I never felt fear, only anger. I think it’s safe to say that the same goes for every Ukrainian.
Kharkiv center after targeted bombing. No military objects are located there, that was a specific hit on civilians
While after the first few days it got a bit quieter during the days, yesterday I actually felt my chair moving together with my whole body. Around half a mile away two rockets hit our radio station.
TV tower near my house, hit by two rockets
Air raid sirens can sound every few hours and there can be dozens of alerts during a single day. There were even new air raid sirens two minutes after the previous alert was canceled. Rocket hits can happen a few minutes after the alert or even a minute before.
A very small fraction of the amount of air raids alerts
Our people are fighting, our troops and civilians are sacrificing their lives for our land and for the safety of the rest of the world. Unarmed villagers are blocking the way of the tanks, citizens are singing our national anthem in front of the occupants (and actually making them leave!), molotovs are being thrown at the enemy’s vehicles.
There should be a logical ending to this article. But there is no, because the war is still going and its end is not visible yet.
Glory to Ukraine! Slava Ukraini!
Another way to support us will be spreading the news. While our children are dying, western politicians are signing demands to stop the war. We appreciate the tremendous support we are getting, but every day more and more innocent people are getting killed, our houses are destroyed and ancient Ukrainian heritage is being wiped out from history.
Ukraine can be be sheltered from enemy’s rockets and bombs if NATO decides to close our sky.
Ways to donate to Ukrainian army: