Why bomb a country’s capital when you can wear down its citizens with economic hardship, power outages and relentless air raids by deadly drones?
At least that seems to be the Kremlin’s current reasoning.
For me and almost everyone I know in this city where I lived and raised a family through decades of revolution and war, existence has become a game of hit and go – take it or leave it.
A friend of mine who has lived here since 1995 recently decided to leave. He has put away his huge collection of books and entrusts his apartment to neighbors. He gave me some warm quilts in case the winter got tougher.
Kyiv once had a fixed and vibrant expat community, where in at least one Irish pub you could hear more English than Ukrainian. Most of them left when war broke out in 2014.
Almost all of those who remained rushed west last February, along with millions of fleeing women and children.
It’s hard for some to understand why anyone would stay, but not everyone has a place to go, let alone the means or even the physical ability to get there.
Last weekend, I started picking up my youngest daughter early, and only a few subway stations were closed. When the air raid sirens went off, most people huddled on the platform, leaving us plenty of empty seats on the train.
The parks we visit that hadn’t been hit by missiles were mostly empty, and thankfully there was still no heating in our apartment.
When we got home the power was back on, so I was able to watch podcasts on my laptop, while she played games on her tablet for several hours before things went black again.
From then on, it was candlelight and a camp of quilt tents until morning.
Monday wasn’t bad either, as I was able to supplement my income by taking online English lessons for the first part of the morning. After that, either the lesson is cut short by an air raid, or the power is cut off again.
But there’s always coffee in the park, with the owner of a small cafe I discovered bragging about staying without a power outage.
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