Yurii Zhyhanov, who woke up before dawn to the sound of his mother screaming, found himself covered in dust. The second day of Russia’s invasion, shelling in the outskirts Kyiv’s capital city, Kyiv, landed their residential building.
Many civilians fled the scene of the attack, fearful that their lives were at risk. Zhyhanov’s family packed their belongings and fled the scene amid the smoke and screeching car alarms.
“What are your doing?” He asked Russia, “What is this?” and pointed to the building behind him. Attack military personnel if you want to. That’s all I have to say.
As people climbed out from bomb shelters, basements, and subways to face another Day of Upheaval, their weariness and shock reflected the feelings of his country.
Air raid sirens woke those who didn’t hear explosions. Then, it was announced that Russian forces had reached the capital’s outskirts.
Russia claims it isn’t targeting cities but the fighting seems too close.
A body of a soldier was found near a Kyiv underground. Fragments of an aircraft that had been shot down were found in a residential neighborhood. The brick homes were covered in black plastic, which was used to cover body parts.
The streets of the city were walked by armored personnel carriers. On empty bridges, soldiers established defensive positions. Residents watched intently from the doorways of their apartments, as they looked on.
A woman appeared to be praying outside a monastery when she raised her hands towards a wall of saints. Vlada, a young girl from Mariupol, asked for an end to the attack.
She said, “I don’t want to die.” “I want this to be over as soon as I can.”
The fear was made worse by uncertainty. Associated Press journalists spotted a disabled military truck with its tires flattened on a street in Obolon. It was without any apparent markings and it wasn’t clear if the truck was one that Ukraine’s general staff claimed was stolen by Russian forces trying to pretend they were local.
The damage caused by shelling was not lost on the Ukrainians. Some even mourned.
A body was found outside a house that had been attacked in Horlivka, the capital of the Russian territory. It was covered with a blanket. The man who was standing next to the body spoke on the telephone.
He said, “Yes, Mom is gone. That’s all.” “That’s it, Mom’s gone.”
According to the U.N. human rights officer, there were increasing numbers of civilian casualties. At least 25 people died from airstrikes and shelling. Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the agency, said that “the figures, we fear could be much higher.”
The desire to flee grew. Some civilians walked to the borders, dragging their luggage behind them. Marika Sipos, who was from Koson, said, “It’s unfortunate we got here in the old age facing a war.” She wiped her eyes.
Many people from Ukraine sought refuge at a Polish train station. Others slept on cots. A young girl’s hair was stroked by a woman.
Andry Borysov was one of the passengers at the station. He said that he heard a rush from something flying overhead, then an explosion, as he tried to catch a train out Kyiv.
He said, “It was an unshakable sound.”
Some people hesitated to leave even though they were standing on platforms for trains.
In Kostiantynivka, a government-controlled area in the separatist-held Donetsk People’s Republic, a woman who gave only her first name, Yelena, appeared undecided.
She said, “It’s 50-50 whether it is worth leaving” It wouldn’t hurt to go for a few days or a weekend.
Others who fled Ukraine were aware that it could take longer to return home.