War. Stories from Ukraine

Ukrainians tell stories about their life during the war

“I feel embarrassed and sorry for my parents. They didn’t want to evacuate”, Daryna, Kyiv

by | 4 March 2022 | Kyiv, War. Stories from Ukraine


Photo by Katya Moskalyuk

Daryna lives in Kyiv, in the Solomiansky District. In peacetime, she is a gymnastics coach. She is also fond of motorsports and teaches people how to ride a motorcycle. On February 23, she worked and walked with her boyfriend in the park, and on February 24, they hastily left the city. She recalls: ‘I woke up, saw the news and packed within an hour. I didn’t hear a siren at home. I heard them only in Lviv.’ She left her motorcycle in Kyiv.

The road from Kyiv to Lviv, which takes five to six hours by car in peacetime, took a day and a half because everything was jammed. They spent the night at a gas station. Since men are not allowed to cross the border now, they decided to stay in Lviv. They spent the first two nights in the car. Then Daryna’s parents sent her younger brother to them. He is 15. Now they all live together in a shelter.

Daryna left Kyiv with warm clothes, a toothbrush, and her papers. She says that she had no ‘emergency bag’, but she always kept everything at home sorted out.

‘I was not afraid to leave, but I was worried about my parents, because they stayed in Kyiv and did not want to evacuate. I feel embarrassed and sorry for them.’

Here’s what Daryna’s day looks like now: she stays at the shelter, follows the news, goes out for a walk. They have food and hygiene items in there. There is hot water, a shower, a toilet.

Her plan for the nearest future is as follows: Daryna’s boyfriend will stay in Lviv and work, and she and her brother will go abroad.

‘I’ve spent my last money on a ticket, now I only have a bottle of water,’ says the girl. ‘I try to fight the stress, try not to read the news non-stop, not to lose heart. I dream, I don’t even dream, I just want it to end and everyone to be alive and healthy. I want us all to be together and by each other’s side.’

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