The testimonies from Ukraine in the first hours of the war: “We have to host 3 thousand children”, “Metro as a bunker”

Of Silvia Morosi

Long lines of people at pharmacies, grocery stores, ATMs, petrol stations. People take refuge in the tunnels of the Kiev metro

«They started to sound the sirens, it is not yet clear why “. She speaks with breathlessness to theAdnkronos
Loris, an Emilian pensioner who has lived for three years in Konotop in northeastern Ukraine, fifty kilometers from the Russian border. “There is a great mobilization. Thank God they haven’t bombed here so far, but there are so many tanks with cannons in the streets»He continues. “I could hear the explosions and the windows of my house were shaking,” he adds a witness of the bombings in the Brovary area, just outside the Ukrainian capital, according to which the tension was very high during the night. Ukraine woke up before 6 this morning to rumble, bangs, flashes of explosions. In the streets you can see them long lines of people pharmacies, grocery stores, ATMs, petrol stations. “A nightmare” is the impression shared by all the testimonies of this February 24, which will remain in history. “We have a house near the airport and this morning we were awakened by the explosions. At first we could hardly believe it “, he explains to theHandle Eleonora, Italian for 20 years in Kiev. «I am not afraid, but worry. There is nothing we can do against a conflict that has in fact held us hostage for 8 years. The Ukrainian people are angry, there is a strong desire to defend the country ».

When the news of the bombing in Kiev spread, panic broke out: “Bank branches are being stormed, as are pharmacies and supermarkets,” he told LaPresse an Italian boy who works and lives in Kiev as a professional and who prefers to remain anonymous so as not to create further concern in his Italian family. “I’m trying to withdraw cash, but the ATMs are all closed or sold out – he says -. We are 140 km from the Belarusian front, so here it is more a situation of panic than of war. People are afraid of reliving the Soviet occupation. I have heard many say that they are tired of running away, that this is their home and we will defend it, the city is organizing itself to resist “, he underlines, recalling how the Farnesina invited them to leave the country.

From the early hours of this morning, many citizens of Kiev have found shelter in the subway stations, which the city authorities had indicated as a possible anti-aircraft shelter (here the photo story of the day). “Now he seems calmer, but I’m on the subway, I think it’s safer underground,” explains a young woman from Kiev to theHandle. “The war began on a large scale, we are told that missile attacks by Russian troops have occurred in 17 areas,” he adds. «The situation is very difficult, they could arrive really quickly in Kiev. If they really want to take Kiev right away, we have to go into hiding. Now let’s try to understand which bunkers and basements are available », is the testimony of Anastasiya Menzhega, 25, architect and designer in Kiev. “We took refuge in the Italian embassy. We are fine and we are waiting to understand how to get home », are the words Of Cristiano Zanus Fortes, Venetian former basketball player for 10 years in Serie A, in Kiev with his partner, the dancer Katia Tubini.

“We are trying to remain calm and are preparing to welcome the evacuees. We have received the directive to accept 3 thousand children coming from orphanages in the Donbass area, I presume. We have emptied the colleges, the apartments for students, there are also municipal spaces, and many families have contacted us to receive children “, are the words collected by theHandle Of

Tamara Senyushko, from the southwestern region of Cernivtsi. In the Lugansk region “a great attack is underway, they have been bombed all night, now tanks are entering and there are strong clashes in the city of Shachtarsk. Now we are headed to the region to evacuate refugees in Dnipro, and especially to take away the children, “he says on the phone to theHandle
Oleh Ladnykpriest of the Salesians.

A dramatic situation also concerns the hospitals. In Kiev, for example, interventions, even urgent ones, have been blocked, and urgent treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy have also been stopped. Today’s problem – he underlines Damiano Rizzi, president of Soleterre, an organization that for years has been dealing with the treatment of children with cancer and which collaborates with various Ukrainian hospitals – «is that today the hospital staff did not show up for work. Everyone is trying to secure families. This prevents today from doing interventions as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy ». In eastern Ukraine, more than 400,000 minors live in areas at high risk of the direct impacts of the presence of soldiers and artillery, which “include the possibility of being injured or killed by guns, mines and explosive weapons, or of being displaced from their homes” , reads a note by Save The Children. As of Monday, “at least 100 thousand of them and their families have already left their homes and are currently staying with friends, relatives and strangers, often in cramped conditions”.

Today is «the scariest day. Ache. Anger, rage, anger and pain. My son didn’t deserve the war. The children of Ukraine did not deserve the war, ”he wrote on Instagram Katerina Ostroushko, wife of Paulo Fonseca, former coach of Shakhtar Donetsk and Roma. The couple is currently in Kiev. “Pain and shame” are also the feelings of the Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021 Dmitry Muratov, Russian journalist director of Novaya Gazeta, for the Russian attack on Ukraine. Muratov then accused Putin of “playing with a nuclear button as if it were the key fob of an expensive car”.

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