Our Stories

Igor and Family from Kiev

Morning of February 24, 2022

On the morning of February 24, 2022, my wife woke me up with the words:
  • Igor, wake up! They’re bombing…
  • What?! – I opened my eyes with difficulty.
About 5-6 o’clock in the morning, I don’t remember exactly now. I only remember the feeling that hung in the air of the room. Feeling of anxiety.
  • I just read on Facebook: friends write that russians are bombing Ukraine, – my wife said with alarm. – Oh… do you hear?.. again? What’s this?..
I remember perfectly, for the rest of my life, what I heard right after that and then saw.
Thunder could be heard… explosions. Distant explosions, distant rumbles. They were so nasty, unpleasant for the ear that they penetrated right through, they were etched into the memory.

TV tower was visible in the window of our flat in Kyiv

“He caught us up finally, a bloody psychopath?!” 

– ran through my mind at that moment.

My wife and I ran to the window. It was foggy. Low cloud cover. February dampness. Mist. I looked into the distance. There. Somewhere out there. Far away. On the horizon. Scarlet flashes flashed. There were clearly explosions over the horizon. From there to here came muffled rumbles:
  • boom, boom, boom, boom!!! – very accurately conveys the Ukrainian word “vybukhi”. This is exactly “vybukhi”.
A fighter jet flew over our house. It was not visible because of the low gray clouds that hid the sky from the people of Kiev. I didn’t see him. I just seemed to be cut through by his sharp fighter drilling of the air, which cannot be confused with the calm peaceful sound of a civilian aircraft. It was a military plane, definitely.
Истребители над Киевом

I didn’t see the insignia on its wings, and therefore I didn’t know if it was an Ukrainian or a Russian plane, “our” or an enemy one. And that made my soul even more anxious. Even sharper feelings, the feeling of adversity has become even more acute.

It was unpleasant and sticky for me to think that a Russian fighter jet was flying freely over Kiev and could launch a rocket into any of the houses, for example, into our house.

Пролёты российских истребителей над Киевом. #Украина

I moved away from the window and sat down on the sofa. My wife continued to stand near the window, peering into the gray “something”.
  • Do you think this is a war? – she asked me.
I turned my face away from her and quietly, calmly, as calmly as I could, answered:
  • Yes, this is a war.

A tear rolled down my cheek. It wasn’t a tear of fear, although, of course, I was scared. Something shrank inside me. A soul? Nerves? I began to think feverishly, what to do? At that time I still did not understand what this new phenomenon was for me.

I was sitting on the couch and deciding what to do now. As a husband. As a father of two children, who slept in the next rooms.
How?
How it could be in the 21st century?

I got up and went to the window again. I looked once more into the distance. I peered into the “there” again, into the distance. There were red flashes on the horizon. From the “there” there were muffled “vibukhs” coming again, again, again. They bombed somewhere in the direction of Chernihiv, as it seemed to me.

“It can’t be,” – my wife said next to me. – “It cannot be that in the 21st century someone attacked a neighboring country like this. It cannot be that in the 21st century such a thing is possible: a war in Europe.”
It cannot be… But it was. Definitely.

And then I realized that everything that was happening reminded me the Stephen King’s novel “Mist”. 

There, beyond the mist, were monsters, monsters, unknown, invisible forces of evil, they bombed, destroyed, killed.

Along with the mist that was approaching the city, hordes of “orcs” were coming at us (this is the word that arose in my head at that moment), hordes of inhumans who wanted to tear us apart, trample our peaceful life, our ordinary affairs, school, work, family.

There behind the mists, eternal drunks…” sings Russian singer Rastorguev in his famous song for former Soviet citizens of Russia. It seemed as if they had been preparing to attack behind the mist for many years before.

  • Yes, Russia attacked Ukraine from the fog, despite the Ukrainians’ trust in the “elder brother”, despite the Ukrainians’ disbelief that the “fraternal people” would make a military invasion of Ukraine, and relatives and friends in Russia would support military expansion and their president’s decision. Ukrainians did not believe until the very last minute, until that fateful morning, that Russians were capable of such a thing.

Russia attacked Ukraine from the fog and erected, apparently, forever a wall of distrust of Ukrainians towards Russians, at least for a long time.

That was such morning and my first feeling of the war.

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