It all started at 8am on Monday. My husband and I went about our morning routine. We rushed to the window and couldn’t believe this was happening again (even though the air defense sirens had been wailing for an hour and a half).
When we opened the window, although the sky in Kyiv was clear, we heard the rumble of thunder. The sound of rockets exploding reminds me of the sounds of a storm, but it’s far more ominous to know that death is coming, not rain.
I searched online to find out what had happened and if my relatives and friends were okay. We realized that we needed to get dressed quickly and get ready to go to the shelter. Soon there were more explosions. Only the cats stayed calm. I ate the omelet quickly despite my sour stomach.
Despite the Kremlin’s efforts to terrorize our people, the response has been extraordinary. It is true that the citizens of Kyiv are afraid. But at the same time they have not succumbed to hysteria. The German ambassador to Ukraine, who also spent hours in air raid shelters on Monday, tweeted: “With hundreds of Kievans in a bunker. I am amazed at the calm that reigns here while Russia shells playgrounds in central Kyiv.”
The attacks gave some of us flashbacks to the beginning of the war. But this time the situation feels very different. While we can’t get used to someone trying to kill us just because we are — no one could ever get used to that — we now know we can fight back. We understand that our enemy is doing this because he is desperate.
People are determined to go about their lives. When the invasion began, everything shut down. But today many of the shops remain open. Grocery stores, cafes, even a beauty salon in my building – they all keep working.
The city of Kyiv and surrounding regions experienced power outages on Monday, some for a few hours, others longer. Later in the day, when the attacks appeared to be over, I visited a maternity hospital outside of town. My friend Maryna gave birth to a daughter there three days ago and she is still recovering there. She was worried but still in a state of absolute bliss. When the war started she moved to the European Union but decided to return to Ukraine to have her baby.
Earlier in the day I met two people who decided to leave Kyiv because of the attack. A person was on the phone near the entrance to my building. I heard him say it’s time to go. Someone else had piled up a stack of luggage.
I got on the elevator with a neighbor who said he was very angry and wanted to blow up the Kremlin. He told me that he and his family were going to the country for a few days because they believed there would be more attacks soon. “The Russians are shelling residential buildings,” he said. “It’s terror!”
He was right. The mood among the civilian population is that they want to put an end to this terror – and that can only be done by ending the war. Everything we have is under attack. Our loved ones have been killed, wounded and terrorized. Parts of our country are occupied, subject to lawlessness and state-orchestrated violence.
Our very existence has been doubted and attacked. So people have good reason to be angry. They want this all to stop. You are under incredible stress. But they are not hopeless or desperate.
“We have to be patient,” my cousin Oleksandra told me. “This is Vladimir Putin’s final death throes and we are on the verge of victory. This happens because we have successes on the battlefield, so we have to be patient and believe in our army.”
When the missile hit this morning, it was coming back from the southern front with a platoon. Her husband serves in the military there.
That’s the atmosphere in Kyiv. People are angry and they won’t give up.
Iuliia Mendel is a journalist, author of The fight of our lives and a former press secretary for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/missile-attacks-leave-the-people-of-kyiv-in-a-constant-state-of-fear-but-they-know-vladimir-putin-is-desperate-42059167.html Rocket attacks keep the people of Kyiv in constant fear – but they know that Vladimir Putin is desperate