Moment is publishing regular updates from Helen, a Soviet American Jew living in Kyiv. Read all the diary entries here.
Four buildings were bombed and destroyed in Kyiv yesterday. Three of them are within 15 minutes’ walk of our place. As a result of these bombings and the apprehension about new ones, the new curfew was announced–it will last until Thursday. It means that the streets are empty and all the stores and pharmacies are closed. There are emergency phone numbers, which are circulating via phone service providers and other channels. However, there are many fake numbers.
Yesterday I made five phone calls trying to assist the elderly couple in our building to get medications, but two numbers were out of order and the lines of others were constantly busy.
This night four buildings were bombed in Kyiv. Many people spent the night in bomb shelters. Most of them are subway stations because Kyiv is situated on the hills and metro stations are quite deep underground. My neighbor went to the bomb shelter with her dog but came back with two because the second dog’s owner had a stroke.
A friend of mine in a nearby village tried to get his daughter out of Irpin, which was under heavy bombing; his daughter was about to give birth. My friend owns a car but that didn’t help much: There was no gas and all the gas stations are shut down. But the neighbors “chipped in” with whatever they had in their tanks, pumping the gas out of their cars. With their help, he managed to get his daughter to relative safety, where she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. At least 400 babies have been born in Kyiv during the war, some of them right in the bomb shelters.
Six hundred buildings were destroyed in Kharkiv under the assaults of the Russian army. Among them are 50 schools and a number of medical establishments. It’s heartbreaking and impossible to comprehend what’s happening in Ukraine at present. The situation in Mariupol is unfathomably atrocious: a starving population cut off completely from food or clean water, dehydrated children, shelling, mass graves, and a maternity hospital full of mothers-to-be and babies and doctors was bombed by Russians.
I fear and dread that the same fate awaits the other beautiful cities of Ukraine.
Putting our growing fears aside, my husband and I are determined to stay in Kyiv. By being in the midst of the disaster, we can better identify the needs of the families around us and try to be as helpful as we can. We are translating various petitions for aid. We also wrote letters to senators and congressmen. I feel like I’m in the CPR class where the keywords are: Do what you are meant to do. Lend your hand to save a life. The people of Kyiv are our inspiration and they are the main reason we stayed. Now, we feel we are on a kind of mission.
A lot of my friends question me about Israel’s actions. First, it was the hush-hush meeting with Putin. But yesterday Israel canceled non-visa entrance for Ukrainians and stopped accepting refugees. I’m quite puzzled myself. The question “Where are your people?” is being addressed to me. It’s not personal or malevolent. But it is in the air.
Kyviv Diary Entries
- 3/14/2022 “Today is a good day. We have Netflix and eggs”
- 3/17/2022 “The situation with Israel bothers Ukranians a lot”
- 3/20/2022 “Heartbroken adults are forced to leave the elderly behind”
- 3/21/2022 “Love is in the air”