Kyiv Diary 5/9/22: Ukrainian Families Torn Apart

Kyiv Diary, Latest
A person standing in Kyiv, Ukraine

Moment is publishing regular updates from Helen, a Soviet American Jew living in Kyiv. Read all the diary entries here.

Yesterday we ran into Maxim, an IT professional who used to run a repair store for Apple products. When the war broke out, he enlisted in the army. We talked about how Ukrainians get daily updates on the number of Russian planes, ships and soldiers lost—but information about Ukrainian casualties is harder to find.

Maxim thinks that the casualty numbers are higher than the official counts Ukraine is reporting. And he doesn’t understand why there aren’t greater efforts to help Ukrainians find information about their daughters, brothers, sisters and parents who have died or gone missing. The conversation troubled me. Shouldn’t Ukrainian IT workers create tools to help reunite Ukrainian families? Some families I know stay in touch, but I know some parents who are desperately seeking their children and have no idea of their whereabouts.

On the bright side, with the spring weather the chestnut trees—the emblem of Kyiv—are about to start blossoming. There are more and more people on the streets. More stores are reopening. It looks like a peaceful city full of people living regular lives. However, this is just an illusion. There is danger, though it might not feel like immediate danger. And the services people need are not always available.

Kyiv is a beautiful European city with centuries of rich history, picturesque parks and a thriving art scene. Just three months ago, you could take your pick from dozens of operas, concerts, museums, Dnipro River tours and art exhibitions. You could attend a wealth of educational programming open to the public. The restaurant industry was booming; new places opened every month with amazing interiors, creative and delicious menus and outstanding service.

I wonder how many enterprises will never recover. I also think about the businesses that will survive the war, and how they will be changed. When will the life that used to be so active and thriving return?

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