“I’m going home”. How and why the Ukrainians are already returning to Kyiv

  • Eugenia Kovalevskaya
  • BBC News Ukraine

Author of the photograph, Katerina Gornostay

Photo caption,

Kyiv apartment by Kateryna Hornostay

The first thing Anna decided to do after returning home was to fill her with comfort. Anna lives in Kyiv and leaves on the second day of the war. A few weeks later, he returned and wrote on Facebook:

“Please advise a simple recipe for cooking sweet yeast. Yesterday we returned to the civil conditions of Kyiv, at home. And I look forward to filling the house comfortably.”

It’s been a month since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. People experienced fear, despair, frustration and accepted the situation as it is. The country is at war, and at home even the native walls are protected: this famous proverb has taken on a real meaning.

More and more civilians are returning home to Kyiv.

House with comfort

The story of Anna from Kyiv is not strange. She left Kyiv with her husband and four-year-old daughter on February 25, the second day of the war.

“At that time, it was the right decision. We went to a country house in Boryspil district,” said a resident of Kyiv.

Despite the difficult living conditions in the summer house, which is not adapted to the cold, the security situation here was tense: “There were also explosions, at a distance, but almost all day. The helicopters flew low over “And at one point we said it would be safer to come back.”

Photo caption,

Despite the war, orchids bloom on the windowsill

Although Anna was intimidated by the long road and a lot of road controls to the capital, the return was quick and happy.

During these weeks, Kyiv and its living conditions have changed a lot.

Anna’s husband is actively involved in the volunteer movement, and he and his daughter line up in the shops and walk. Anna has been working since last week. And all this thanks to the good internet of the city.

Photo caption,

Anna tried an internet recipe to add some comfort to her Kyiv apartment

“I’m ready to stay. Here we are all together,” Anna says of Kyiv. He baked the buns according to the recipe they advised him, and now the aroma of cinnamon and comfort reigns in his apartment.

Kyiv – “a house where people breathe”

In the early days of the war, director Kateryna Hornostai left Kyiv to go to her mother near Kyiv, where she seemed calmer at first.

“But every day we could hear (and sometimes even see) the front line around Kyiv. Every night we decided whether to stay or run away,” he said.

Author of the photograph, Katerina Gornostay

My mother flatly refused to go anywhere, Kateryna did not plan to flee west or abroad, so the decision was to return to Kyiv.

Although a feature film by Catherine “Stop-Earth” was released in January, she is now working outside the profession.

“We found volunteers quite quickly and we’ve been working with our hands for two weeks now – packing lunches for those in need. This job saves my head from constantly reading the news and horrible obsessions,” says one resident. in Kyiv about his days in the city. capital.

“They say that if you don’t live in a house all the time, it collapses very quickly. The same story happens with cities. The city must live full of its inhabitants, it must continue the cycle of products, money and services.” , said Kateryna.

Now she likes simple things in Kyiv, such as a newly opened cafe, a colleague’s birthday bouquet that can be bought in the hallway, and even a small traffic jam on the road.

Author of the photograph, Alexei Samsonov

Photo caption,

Poster for the movie “Stop the Earth” in Lukyanovka, where the explosion took place on March 15

“I see Kyiv as a giant house where people breathe. They are worried, often sitting in shelters, rescuing their neighbors from the rubble, but they still live here.

I am afraid that the bombing of the city by Russian planes and missiles may intensify, but I would very much like to stay here, ”concludes the director.

“Focus on the sirens”

Olena Kovalchuk, who went to Kyiv with her husband and daughter on the first day of the war, is convinced that she is calmer within her walls.

“When we faced the first shock, we decided to return to our apartment a few weeks later. It is quieter within its walls,” said the Kyiv resident.

Author of the photograph, Olena Kovalchuk

Photo caption,

Elena and her husband equipped a safe place in the apartment according to the rules of two walls

They equipped their apartment and their apartment to make it safe.

“We’ve been here for a week now and we’re quiet. We’re focusing on the sirens. My kids are quieter here, because they’re among their belongings,” Elena says of her life.

Elena is pleased with the decision to return to Kyiv. If you stay in Ukraine, it’s just at home, says a woman from Kyiv.

“I think Kyiv needs”

Oksana Belous recalls that she had bad feelings on February 24th. And in the morning a big cockroach came from the neighbors. When his son called with a message about the explosions, he gathered a cat and a dog and went to the cottage on the road to Zhytomyr. After turning off the lights and starting the fight nearby, he moved to Vinnytsia.

“You sit down and think why are you sitting here, what are you hiding from?” – Oksana remembers.

Author of the photograph, Oksana Belous

Photo caption,

Oksana Belous packs a shipment with pens and paints for Easter eggs. Everyone has pre-war pinch bread

She is from Kyiv in the fifth generation. Kyiv is his hometown, all his ancestors lived here, where he is now, in this corner of the center of the capital.

“I asked my grandmother, who stayed in Kyiv during World War II, during the occupation, how they were not afraid of bombs flying. She said what fate would be. If fate dies, then to the “If the relatives keep the walls, we will live. And that’s how the family keeps it,” added the neighbor from Kyiv.

Oksana Belous is a popular teacher. He has been doing Easter egg painting workshops for years. Back in Vinnytsia, people started writing to him and asking him about different products.

“People ask about paintings, pens, books. This is Easter egg therapy for everyone,” says Oksana.

He returned to Kyiv a few days ago and is already preparing his orders, donating part of his income to the needs of war victims through the Greek Catholic Church.

Author of the photograph, Oksana Belous

Photo caption,

Master Oksana Belous’ Easter eggs have just been dried

As for the premonitions of the end of the war, Oksana has them.

“The darkest moments before dawn. Everything that’s not happening is for the better. We have to go through it,” Oksana adds.

He says the Easter eggs painted on February 24 have already dried well and will make you happy for Easter, which will definitely be brilliant.

Serhiy also left Kyiv in the early days of the war and took his family to the west of the country. However, in a few weeks he decided to return home.

It was uncomfortable for him to sit near the border with Poland and go to Kyiv. Humanitarian aid has been offered and unloaded for several days.

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