War. Stories from Ukraine

Ukrainians tell stories about their life during the war

‘‘When the train was moving, a shell crashed on its way. People literally said goodbye to life,’’ – Nadiya and her daughter Yelizaveta, Kyiv—Lviv

by | 4 March 2022 | War. Stories from Ukraine


Photo by Katya Moskalyuk


Nadiya is a government worker in Kyiv. On the night of February 23, she went to the Theater on Podil with her family. They saw a play based on the works by Mikhail Bulgakov. Nadiya came home late at night and had a lot of unfinished business, so she went to bed only after midnight. And woke up at 5 a.m. to the sound of explosions.

The first night since the war broke out, they slept at home. But the next day, the wreckage of a Russian missile crashed into a house on Koshitsia Street, two houses down from Nadiya’s home. They spent the next night in a school basement. When a curfew was declared for a day and a half, they remained in the shelter all the time.

‘‘At first, we didn’t plan to leave,’‘ says Nadiya. ‘‘Then our relatives invited us to Lviv. With some experience in hiking, we packed within two hours. I put money in my suitcase, packed my things, and took a flash drive with family photos.’‘

They decided to leave by a high-speed Intercity train. ‘‘When the train was moving, something that looked like a shell crashed on its way; it barely missed the window. The sound wave shook the train; people literally said goodbye to life,‘’ says Nadiya. It took 5 hours longer than usual to get to the destination.

They arrived in Lviv on Tuesday morning. Nadiya was accompanied by her daughter Yelizaveta and her older brothers. The guys are 22 years old, so they can’t cross the border now: men of conscription age are not allowed to leave the country at war.

‘‘We don’t know what to do next. Today, I haven’t slept at all. I can’t collect my thoughts, I can’t make any decisions.’‘

Now Nadiya and her daughter live in the Les Kurbas Theater. It serves as a shelter in Lviv. The child is happy: ‘‘First we lived in the school, now we live in the theater. Nice.’‘

‘‘The decision to leave Kyiv was difficult. I have not fully recovered yet. But I had to move the child.’‘

Nadiya’s mother lives in Kherson. Now the city is being constantly shelled by the Russian military forces. ’‘I just hope that my mother is far away from the hottest spots and stays at home for now,’‘ says Nadiya.

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