Mirror reporter Andy Lines is in Kyiv, Ukraine. He counted 20 explosions when Russia targeted military facilities on the outskirts of the city before 7am this morning after Vladimir Putin ordered the attack.
As I stood in the dark on the roof of a hotel in Kyiv at 5 a.m., the sky was suddenly lit up by a giant, terrifying orange glow and I heard and felt an explosive boom.
The explosion – the sound of a Russian missile hitting its target – was too close to be comfortable.
Before 7 a.m., I counted 20 explosions as Russia targeted military facilities on the outskirts of the city.
It seems hard to believe that a full-scale invasion could take place in Europe by 2022.
When Russia sent forces into Ukraine, it was feared that more than 100 people, including 40 soldiers and one child, were killed.
Tens of thousands of terrified families fled the capital.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
When the bombardment began this morning, I was standing on the sidewalk on a deserted street in central Kyiv with an Italian TV reporter I had never met before.
We had been awakened a few minutes earlier by a faint noise in the distance and went outside to investigate.
At first, I couldn’t believe the bombing could be so close to Kyiv.
As I nervously climbed the stairs to the rooftop of the hotel, the explosion got louder.
This is when I felt a huge explosion and realized that I was witnessing a prolonged powerful attack.
Dawn broke an hour or so and the sirens began to wail – overpowering the gentle chime of the church bells that marked the time.
Sergei Malgavko / TASS)
The sound of sirens sent frightened passersby into the church for safety.
Some people drove to work. Two women walking their dogs in the church square, seemingly unaware of the attack by Vladimir Putin. It is surreal.
But within a few hours, the magnitude of the attack was carried out across the city. As the two fighters flew over the capital, there were long lines of people at the collection points. Postman Peter Aliyev, 47, said: “I want to earn some money when I can. I have a young family and we are leaving Kyiv this morning to live in the countryside with our relatives.”
A tearful young woman joins the queue. The city is living in anxiety as it awaits the next attack.
Image of the Press Association)
Last night it was still unclear how close the Russian tanks were to the capital.
The paratroopers arrived at a military airfield just 25 miles away. And at least six helicopters were seen flying over Hostomel, a commuter town on the outskirts of Kyiv.
Apartment buildings in several cities were hit by rockets. A woman, a teacher, in Chuhuiv shed blood from a wound on her head.
Kyiv’s deep metro system has at least given families some security.
Hundreds of children and dozens of pet cats and dogs are present on the platforms of a station.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Student Andriy, 23, said: “We always consider Russia as our big brother. I did not expect this to happen. And this is just the beginning – we don’t know what will happen next. Ukraine will never be the same after this”.
People packed up what they could and fled in their cars – hoping their homes and possessions would still be there when and if they returned.
On the highway heading out of Kyiv there was a mile-long traffic jam.
The families went out and chatted nervously until the sirens went off again and they went back to their cars.
Daily Mirror / Andy Stenning)
Some people go down to the side of the wheel of the car and the thumbs up to be lifted. At the main bus station, the coaches were packed with people as they drove away. Many stores have closed, and many of the stores that are open have run out of food.
In the city center, I saw a convoy of 15 military vehicles speeding toward government buildings.
Across the street, dozens of men lined up to enlist after receiving their enlistment papers.
The mayor, former world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, has imposed a curfew from 10 am today to 7 am tomorrow.
AFP via Getty Images)
The subways “will function as shelters 24/7”, he said, but added: “If you need to move around the city during curfew… you must have identification.”
The streets of Kyiv last night were eerily quiet. Bars and cafes were closed as police cars patrolled downtown.
Ukraine’s favorite sports son, former Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko, said on social media that his country has gone through “many difficult times” and their greatest asset is “the people” sincere and freedom-loving”.
Those citizens are praying they will soon be rid of the tyrant Putin.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/feeling-huge-explosions-russia-invaded-26324580 'Feeling the big explosions when Russia invaded Ukraine was bizarre and scary' - World News