Life in Kyiv in the deserted capital

By Remy Ourdan

Posted yesterday at 10:31 am and updated at 4:36 am.

Between the extremes of escape and armed struggle, it looks like Kyiv’s daily life. In this capital of Ukraine, it resembles the rhythm of air patrol sirens and artillery fire in search of its existence. Russia is knocking on the city gate.

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The first signs of life in Kyiv every morning at dawn are displayed at the central station Pasazhyrskyi. The train is still running while Russian troops are gradually blocking access roads to the city. If the station was a symbol of Exodus along with the convoy during the first few weeks of the war, the station has almost returned to its original appearance. Ticket offices and platforms are no longer surrounded by desperate crowds as Kievas fear, level, and invade the city, trying to flee in front of the Russians. According to the city hall, the capital is already almost half empty. 1.6 million people have left and 2 million remain. Looking at the dark buildings and disappearing windows in the evening, that’s probably the smallest estimate.

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Shops are closed at stations monitored by soldiers and police. Currently the only trader, Pablo offers coffee to a small number of travelers. Earlier, he worked in a store in town, and believes he didn’t lose. “They say the station is the safest place in town. Well, that’s what they say … yeah, Add Pablo, There seems to be the best anti-aircraft defense in the city around the station. »» He himself smiles at this popular belief. It’s as if the train station is more protected than strategic buildings, places of power, and military bases.

Coffee seller at Kyiv Central Station on March 18th.
March 18 Taxi driver at Kyiv Central Station.

The five taxi drivers hitting the pavement in front of Pasazhyrskyi are not working. “No one in town is taking a taxi anymore. Wolody Mill said. The only customers are refugees fleeing the suburbs. “ People who come before the advance of the Russian army and to catch the train to the west of the country. The lazy driver laughs and mutters some French phrases he used to quote tourists. It seems that the time of peace is far away …

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The city is awake. The cold of winter is still severe, but in a few days the weather changed from snow to bright sunshine. Cafe bakery La Fabrice has opened. A few days before the old French man returned home, three employees decided to reopen this place where chic women come to buy bread and pastries. “People are very happy that we are open. They are from all over Kyiv.” The waitress says. Bread is one of the hardest-to-find items in town, and even today only a few bakeries are open.

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