The diary of a survivor in Kyiv. Monday. March 15. “Nightmare in the night”

Streets of Kyiv after Russia bombardment. March 15, 2022. Photo Anatolii Shara

I didn’t plan to write this piece today. But the unexpected circumstances made me do it just right now. It was rather a quiet night. I was sleeping, but at 4.30 AM I woke up because of the sudden sharp light effect high in the skies. It was so powerful that it made me blind for a while. Then I could hear a deafening explosion, and the ground shook so strong the windows in my apartment trembled. I fell to the floor. The explosion was echoing. I lay on the floor for some time.

My friend went out of the room and whispered: “What’s the hell is going on? Could you hear that explosion?”. I answered immediately: “Yes, I did”. At the moment I was standing up on my feet then I could see another bright light and a deafening blast. The house shook again. I was forcefully pushed into the corridor. I could hear the sound of breaking glass from somewhere in the neighbouring houses’ windows. We rushed to the door. We met our neighbour in the stairwell. We went down together to the yard. It was awfully quiet. We didn’t see anything. I had an impression that all of that happened just in front of me. But everything was ok nearby. Our neighbour started going there and back and crying loudly: “What the fuck? What the fuck? What the fuck”.

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Indeed, the man was shocked by the explosions. I came up to him and asked in a soft voice: “Hey, buddy, calm down. Don’t cry. The police may take us for spotters and shoot just right here”. His body was intensely trembling, and he cried: “Don’t you see what these fucking Russians are doing with this city? I’m so afraid. They will kill us all. Oh, shit, shit!!! We need to run!!!!”. I slapped him mildly, took him by the shoulders, and shook him a few times. I looked into his eyes and told him: “Take a deep breath. Again. One more. One more”. The man calmed down.

Streets of Kyiv after Russia bombardment. March 15, 2022. Photo i Anatolii Shara

My friend proposed to go and find out where the rockets fell down. We left our neighbour by the entrance and moved quickly to the street leading to Lukianivska metro station. One could hear the sirens of dozens of ambulances and firefighting vehicles coming in that direction. We quickened our pace. Approximately in 400 hundred meters, we could see an apocalyptic picture. There were big flames over the top floor of the Artem military plant, which hasn’t worked for decades. All the windows were blown out there. Some office stuff was falling down from the windows. We just stopped and froze in the position until soldiers from a checkpoint nearby came running up and started to shout: “Get out of here, you idiots. There can be other rockets coming here. Runaway, right now!!!”. He took me by the hand and began running by dragging me to the improvised shelter behind Lukianivska metro station. He was right; there was another explosion but far from here. The soldier was a young man, with rosy cheeks, dressed in a new uniform of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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                                                            ***

I went to my house and thought: “The sound of the air raid warning. You can hear it. You know very well its meaning. But you don’t know for whom it tolls. Maybe it’s for you. Maybe not. You want to believe it’s not for you. But definitely, it’s for someone from a large Ukrainian family. This is the exact moment when evil has pointed its rockets, and you still do not know who it has chosen as its victim. But you know for sure that evil has already set the mechanism of death in motion. Somewhere in Russia, the mad generals gave the command and someone pressed a button, and a death launched from there.

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This means that the rocket is quickly heading to some point on the map where the people live, work and even laugh, dream, their children, sleep blissfully. There is a real-life there. Simultaneously this life can be taken because a maniaс and his Orcs decided that they can have the right to take someone’s life. The sound of the air raid warning will stay with you forever. You will remember for years if it’s not for you, of course. This sound is distant for most people in the civilized world. For them, this sound can be just a tiny part of the favourite song played on Spotify, or one can hear it, an old classic movie. But not for Ukrainians.

This will unite Ukrainians from Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Mykolayiv, and Kharkiv forever. This sound will always be associated with hatred of the evil that causes it – Russians. It’s not Putin who personally presses the button, launching rockets hitting the peaceful people or shelling them heavily. It’s the Russians who came here to kill us. The years will pass, but this sound will stay in your ears and remind you about the nights like this. You will never forget. It will also remind you you shouldn’t stop until they pay in full for what they have done with us, our cities.”

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