Kyiv resistant | news

Nothing remains of the side facade of this five-story building in the Vitryani Gora area, northwest of Kyiv. He was completely torn off by the explosion of a Russian shell that fell right in the courtyard straight ahead.

All apartments, or what was left of them, were exposed. The ground is littered with garbage. Two cars are reduced to rubble. Trees are decapitated. On the third floor, in one of the ruined apartments, three men are digging through the rubble at the edge of the void. They collect some items for their friend, the father of this family, who occupies the premises, who is at the front.

The whole life of those who lived there is scattered on the floor, broken. In one corner, children’s toys, an Audi mini electric car, teddy bears and scattered dolls are entangled under pieces of wood, plaster partitions, glass and pieces of metal. A little further, in what used to be the living room, is the same ominous pile. You have to trample on these memories in order to move from one room to another. Everything creaks underfoot. In the kitchen, a woman with a mobile phone riveted to her ear picks up a plate and sets it down. Open refrigerator, close.

Down in the courtyard, older women are busy picking up everything thrown and throwing it into a huge construction dump. However, everything around them is just desolation. Five other nearby buildings and a nearby kindergarten were also damaged. Broken windows. Curtains hang outside and flutter in the wind.

No one pays attention to the sounds of fighting taking place a few kilometers away, on the northwestern outskirts of the Ukrainian capital. When approaching this area, the sounds of artillery fire are heard behind a large forest area, which follow each other at regular intervals, interspersed with the sounds of explosions and automatic bursts. At the checkpoint, the policemen present refuse to let us through further. You must turn around.

The attack, which took place on Friday, left one person dead and nineteen injured, according to authorities. On Sunday evening, just before midnight, eight people were killed in a strike, notably at a newly built shopping center in the same area of ​​the city. The night is then punctuated by the sounds of warnings. Five from 9pm to 7am Monday. “The Russians think they are terrorizing us with their bombing, but it has the opposite effect,” explains Dima, a 25-year-old blogger who contemplates this apocalyptic setting with a Ukrainian flag on his shoulders. “It makes us stronger. We, Ukrainians, if we are hit, we do not retreat. We are moving forward. We are fighting. We are defending. »

A patriotic speech that has sounded many times since the beginning of my stay and is in tune with the one issued by their President Vladimir Zelensky, who had just rejected the “ultimatum” formulated by Russia to surrender to Mariupol.

On all the streets of the capital, soldiers, policemen and ordinary citizens-volunteers, mobilized as part of civil defense detachments, are put up with weapons in their hands at improvised checkpoints with concrete blocks, sandbags and anti-tank steel beam structures. Some of them are more primitive, consisting of piles of tires with Molotov cocktails next to them. Even old trams are used as barricades.

Sometimes it is impossible to drive for more than a minute along the almost deserted streets and avenues of Kyiv without stumbling upon one of these checkpoints. Maidan Square, the symbol of all uprisings, including those of 2013-2014 against the former pro-Russian government, has been defaced by these fortifications.

The most relaxed will let our car with the inscription “PRESS” past, just by looking inside. For the rest, it is necessary to present a passport and service certificate issued by the Armed Forces of Ukraine each time.

Thus, each journey generates its share of traps, checks, as well as detours depending on the fighting and completely closed streets. Kyiv has become a labyrinth that confuses even my fellow repairman, who nevertheless lives there.

At the end of the day, the few residents still visible on the streets, often elderly who are unwilling or unable to leave their city, rush to food stores with empty or empty stalls to try and stock up on a few supplies before the long curfew is enforced from 7 p.m. this Monday until 8:00 Wednesday. A measure designed to prevent the movement of “Russian saboteurs”, who, according to the authorities and the population, entered the city to prepare terrorist attacks. No one knows if these saboteurs are a myth or a real threat.

Two friends and neighbors, Tatyana, 61, and Natalia, 56, sitting on a park bench in the city center, do not hide their concern, despite their smiles. “We do not see war where we live, but we hear it. Sometimes our building shakes when there is a loud explosion. So yes, it worries us,” says Natalia. But she refuses to go down to the shelter at every alarm. “My bed is more comfortable,” she concludes with a loud laugh.

At 6:30 pm, I lock myself in the apartment I share with an Indonesian journalist colleague. We will also be listening to the war from a distance for the next 35 hours. Curfew required.

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